Inorganic Chemistry - ACS Publications - American Chemical Society


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The ACS Exams Institute Undergraduate Chemistry Anchoring Concepts Content Map III: Inorganic Chemistry Keith A. Marek,†,§ Jeffery R. Raker,‡ Thomas A. Holme,∥ and Kristen L. Murphy*,† †

Department Department § Department ∥ Department ‡

of of of of

Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of WisconsinMilwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201, United States Chemistry, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33620, United States Chemistry, Bemidji State University, Bemidji, Minnesota 56601, United States Chemistry, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50010, United States

S Supporting Information *

ABSTRACT: For the past eight years, the ACS Examinations Institute has been developing Anchoring Concepts Content Maps for the different subdisciplines taught throughout the undergraduate curriculum. The structure of the map consists of two top levels that are shared throughout the entire curriculum and two subdiscipline specific levels that contain finer-grained content details. This paper presents the four levels of the content map for inorganic chemistry.

KEYWORDS: Second-Year Undergraduate, Upper-Division Undergraduate, Inorganic Chemistry, Testing/Assessment, Curriculum



general approach to development of the ACCM,3,4 and the subdiscipline specific content maps for general chemistry5,6 and organic chemistry,7 have been previously reported. The ACCM is organized around a limited number of anchoring concepts, or “big ideas” that are prevalent throughout the chemistry curriculum. These “big ideas” constitute the first level of a four-level hierarchical structure in which deeper levels represent finer-grained statements of student learning. The second level of the map contains several additional statements for each big idea that represent concepts that are reinforced and built on as a student takes different chemistry courses, which are referred to as “enduring understandings” in evidence-centered design.8,9 Within the structure of the ACCM, the level 1 and 2 statements are common across all subdisciplines. Specific courses taken in the curriculum will take more detailed approaches to the material expressed in the level 1 and 2 statements, and the level 3 statements of the ACCM consist of the “subdiscipline articulations” that are unique to the different subdisciplines and therefore also unique in the different content maps. The subdisciplinary articulations are further divided into “content details” appearing in level 4 of the ACCM. The level 4 statements are the finest-grained details within the map and are intended to represent a concept that could be tested within the scope of an exam question. Development of content maps for

INTRODUCTION Assessment strategies often play an important role in the development and subsequent improvement of college chemistry courses. The American Chemical Society (ACS) Committee on Professional Training (CPT) guidelines1 require that approved chemistry programs “should have an established process by which they assess the development of student skills” and “should regularly evaluate its curriculum and pedagogy”. In addition, a department may do some form of curriculum assessment as part of evaluation of their major2 or their associated institution’s regional accreditation process. The ACS Examinations Institute (ACS-EI) has long been a source of nationally normed exams for instructors in the various chemistry subdisciplines. Many departmental assessment efforts will involve the measurement of student achievement in a specific area within one course or a time-dependent arc of achievement as a student progresses through multiple courses within the curriculum. Such longitudinal efforts specifically require an organization of the content spanned by the undergraduate chemistry curriculum. To this end, the ACS-EI has pursued the development of the Anchoring Concepts Content Maps (ACCM) for the various chemistry subdisciplines (General, Organic, Inorganic, Analytical, Physical, and Biochemistry) with all subdisciplinary maps currently in development or published.3−7 The focus of this article is the development of the ACCM for inorganic chemistry, and the map itself is available within the Supporting Information for this article in outline format. The © XXXX American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc.

Received: July 10, 2017 Revised: November 9, 2017

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Figure 1. Example showing alignment of an inorganic chemistry exam item to the four levels of the ACCM.

the various subdisciplines of chemistry therefore involves formulation of the level 3 and 4 statements of the map as well as the regular evaluation of the level 1 and 2 statements and the alignment of exam items to these statements.

within the ACCM structure to align them into the curriculum offered by their departments. Alignment of exam items to the content details within the map can also provide an informed process of identifying conceptual holes in exam coverage, both to committees of content experts developing ACS exams and instructors developing exams for their own courses.18 This process is best illustrated within the work done aligning items from the ACS general19 and organic20 items to the ACCM for the creation of historical databases as well as the Exams Data Analysis Spreadsheet.21 Figure 1 gives an example of the alignment of an inorganic chemistry exam item to the four levels of the ACCM. More recently, the ACS-EI exam development committees have used conceptual holes analysis to inform the development of questions for future exams.18,22,23 Maps covering different subdisciplines can also be used in longitudinal studies tracking student learning in different courses throughout the major. Using established rubrics24,25 and theoretical framework,26−31 the cognitive complexity of each item is also evaluated by the instructors and included as part of the alignment process. This cognitive complexity value captures the difficulty of the item as determined by the expert from the perspective of how a student would solve the item and the associated difficulty or complexity during that process.32−34 This publication of the inorganic chemistry map is intended to be a starting point of a continuing process by which the map is further refined as the content areas of inorganic chemistry continue to evolve. As maps are completed in the other subdisciplines, new ideas come to the table which may result in a reimagination of the big ideas and enduring understandings in levels 1 and 2 which may require revisions to the level 3 and 4 statements in other areas. It is also expected that further modifications will occur as the ACS-EI uses the map for exam analysis or instructors adapt it to accommodate unique approaches within their courses. This dynamic approach is the same one taken with the development of the maps for other areas, such as general chemistry, in which an update to the original ACCM has been published.6



USES AND PHILOSOPHY OF THE ACCM The ACS-EI has a history of developing quality exams for use in all levels of undergraduate courses. Questions are developed for examinations by committees of volunteers with experience teaching in the respective area for which the exam is developed.10 The development process for the ACCM is structurally similar to the exam writing process, with the content appearing on the ACCM being created and vetted by content experts within workshops held at regional and national meetings. It is important to keep in mind that an ACCM spans the topics that are covered in a subdiscipline of chemistry, which will often be represented by more than one course at the “foundational” and “in-depth” levels prescribed by the ACSCPT guidelines.1,11−13 As such, each map, by design, will contain more content than can be offered within a single course. The subdiscipline of inorganic chemistry presents an additional challenge in that the offering of courses, particularly at the foundational level, occurs at different points in the curriculum at different institutions. While general and organic chemistry courses are offered consistently during the first and second years, respectively, inorganic chemistry courses may be offered at any time between the first and fourth years depending on the design of a department’s curriculum. Recent surveys14−17 have shown that although most inorganic chemistry courses are being taught at the upper level, a growing percentage have been offered more recently at the firstand second-year levels, particularly driven by current ACS accreditation requirements. The coverage of this map is intended to span the content appearing across the spectrum of courses offered within inorganic chemistry, and would therefore be expected to contain information at the foundational and in-depth levels. It is important to keep in mind that the ACCM are not designed with the intention of creating a preferred coverage of a content area. Instead, one of the major goals of the development of the ACCM is to provide a structural framework that can be used as a starting point for the alignment of exam items to conceptual goals within the assessment process. Individual instructors can then use the general framework to incorporate additional course outcomes as level 3 and 4 details



DEVELOPMENT OF THE INORGANIC CHEMISTRY ACCM Initial synthesis of level 1 and 2 statements within the ACCM occurred prior or concurrent to the development of all of maps.3−5 These ideas span the entire chemistry curriculum, and additional level 1 and 2 statements have been identified during B

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Table 1. Summary of Workshop and Synthesis Activities for the Construction of the Inorganic Chemistry ACCM Meeting or Conference ACS ACS ACS ACS ACS ACS

National National National National National National

Meeting Meeting Meeting Meeting Meeting Meeting

Biennial Conference on Chemical Education Exams Institute Office (staff)

Date April 2008 April 2013 September 2013 March 2014 March 2015 March 2016 August 2016 Fall 2016−Spring 2017

Focus Group Activities Level 1 and 2 synthesis Level 3 synthesis Level 3 testing and refinement, level 4 brainstorming Additional level 4 brainstorming, initial alignment of inorganic chemistry exam items. Additional level 4 brainstorming, continued alignment of inorganic chemistry exam items. Refinement of level 3 and 4 statements, alignment of inorganic chemistry and inorganic chemistry fundamentals items Refinement of level 3 and 4 statements, alignment of inorganic chemistry and inorganic chemistry fundamentals items Final review and editing of levels 3 and 4

Figure 2. Comparison of the number of level 3 and 4 statements appearing in the inorganic, organic,7 and general chemistry6 anchoring concepts content maps in the general topical areas of (a) chemical reactions, (b) bonding and symmetry, (c) periodic trends, (d) chemical compounds, and (e) solid-state chemistry.

stakeholder meetings that have taken place to develop maps for the other chemistry subdisciplines. When appropriate, the feedback from these subdisciplinary meetings is used to further refine the level 1 and 2 statements. Table 1 summarizes the activities used to develop this current version of the inorganic chemistry ACCM. Initial brainstorming, synthesis, and further refinement of level 3 and 4 statements have occurred during ACS-EI-sponsored workshops at national meetings attended by inorganic chemistry content experts. To ensure comprehensive coverage of the topics covered within inorganic chemistry, some additional material for vetting was identified at ACS-EI through examination of chemistry textbooks used at the foundational and in-depth levels,35−43 content information from recent surveys of inorganic chemistry faculty,14−17 and alignment of items from recent ACS Examinations in inorganic chemistry.44,45 The edited map was ultimately reviewed by content experts consisting of inorganic chemistry university instructors nationwide. The inorganic chemistry ACCM provides an organizational structure that can be used to align ACS Exam items to content details that can be mapped back to Big Ideas within the chemistry curriculum, and current efforts are being made to

align items from inorganic chemistry exams. Similarly, this map can provide a tool for instructors to align test items from their individual courses to course goals in a broader curriculum structure.



COMPARISON OF EXISTING CONTENT MAPS It is useful to compare the content map for inorganic chemistry to the previously published maps in general5,6 and organic chemistry7 to illustrate how the different subdisciplines span the coverage of the chemistry curriculum. Figure 2 shows a comparison between the number of level 3 and 4 statements grouped by selected level 2 categories appearing on the three content maps. Figure 2a specifically addresses level 2 statements covering various aspects of chemical reactions. One difference that has been noted between the organic and general chemistry maps was that chemical reactions are covered in greater detail within organic chemistry as students explore specific reaction types associated with functional groups and the combination of chemical reactions to achieve a chemical synthesis.7 Within the structure of the map, these topics appear in Big Idea V (Reactions) under enduring understandings D (categorization of reaction types) and F (controlling reaction C

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products using reaction conditions). The inorganic map, in comparison, further expands this concept by introducing reactions of inorganic compounds and examining mechanistic details of metal-catalyzed reactions from the perspective of changing the ligand environment and oxidation state of the metal center. Reaction mechanisms are specifically addressed within Big Idea VII (Kinetics) under enduring understanding C (Reaction Mechanisms). Figure 2b shows how topics pertaining to bonding theory become more numerous as students move into inorganic chemistry and are exposed to more detailed aspects of molecular symmetry and its application to molecular orbital theory. Big Idea II within the content map specifically addresses bonding within compounds, and is well represented in the inorganic content map in comparison to the general and organic maps. Enduring understanding A addresses models of bonding based on electrostatic forces, and includes the inorganic chemistry topics of crystal field theory and the continuum spanning ionic, polar, and covalent bonding. Molecular orbitals are the focus of enduring understanding E within this Big Idea, while symmetry and group theory topics mainly appear within enduring understanding D in Big Idea III (Structure and Function). A recent nationwide survey of inorganic chemistry faculty14 has also shown that the topics of symmetry and bonding are covered within more than 75% of inorganic chemistry courses. Other topics that can broadly be classified into the category of “descriptive chemistry” can be found in areas spanning several different Big Ideas within the organizational structure of the ACCM. Figure 2c illustrates how topics associated with periodic trends appear within three locations corresponding to atomic properties (I.C.), systematic understanding of compound formation (III.G.), and using periodic trends in reactivity to inform experimental design (V.E.). Many topics associated with the formation of coordination and organometallic compounds from metals combining with different types of ligands can be found within enduring understandings III.A. (formation of compounds) and III.F. (functional groups), shown in Figure 2d. Finally, various topics encompassing the chemistry of the solid state, shown in Figure 2e, appear within enduring understandings II.G. (bonding in solids), III.H. (structures of solids) and V.G. (synthesis of new materials). All of these topics show a larger representation of level 3 and 4 statements in the inorganic map compared to the general and organic chemistry maps. One could expect that further comparisons between content areas will become evident as the remaining maps in analytical, physical, and biochemistry are completed.



AUTHOR INFORMATION

Corresponding Author

*E-mail: [email protected] ORCID

Keith A. Marek: 0000-0003-4142-6326 Jeffery R. Raker: 0000-0003-3715-6095 Thomas A. Holme: 0000-0003-0590-5848 Kristen L. Murphy: 0000-0002-7211-300X Notes

The authors declare no competing financial interest.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We would like to thank the many inorganic chemistry faculty who assisted in the development and refinement of this content map, including Barbara Reisner (James Madison University), Alan Gengenbach (University of St. Thomas), Tim Hubin (Southwest Oklahoma State University), Richard Lord (Grand Valley State University), George Stanley (Louisiana State University), and Douglas Vander Griend (Calvin College). Partial funding for this project was obtained through the ACS Examinations Institute Theodore Ashford Fellowship. The corresponding author is the Director of the ACS Exams Institute.



REFERENCES

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SUMMARY In conclusion, the Inorganic Chemistry Anchoring Concepts Content Map has been developed for use by departments in their curriculum assessment efforts. The full contents of the ACCM, which are quite extensive, are presented in outline format within the Supporting Information for this article. The general process used for development of the ACCM has been reported previously.3,4



ACS-EI Anchoring Concepts Content Map as articulated for inorganic chemistry (PDF)

ASSOCIATED CONTENT

S Supporting Information *

The Supporting Information is available on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.7b00498. D

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(34) Johnstone, A. H. Chemical education research in Glasgow in perspective. Chem. Educ. Res. Pract. 2006, 7, 49−63. (35) Miessler, G. L.; Fischer, P. J.; Tarr, D. A. Inorganic Chemistry, 5th ed.; Pearson: Boston, MA, 2014. (36) Shriver, D. F.; Weller, M. T.; Overton, T. L.; Rourke, J. P.; Armstrong, F. A. Inorganic Chemistry, 6th Ed.; W.H. Freeman: New York, NY, 2014. (37) Housecroft, C. E.; Sharpe, A. G. Inorganic Chemistry, 4th ed.; Pearson: Boston, MA, 2012. (38) Pfenning, B. W. Principles of Inorganic Chemistry; John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, NJ, 2015. (39) Wulfsberg, G. Inorganic Chemistry; University Science Books: Sausalito, CA, 2000. (40) Rodgers, G. E. Descriptive Inorganic, Coordination, and Solid-State Chemistry, 3rd ed.; Cengage Learning: Belmont, CA, 2012. (41) Rayner-Canham, G.; Overton, T. L. Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry, 6th ed.; W.H. Freeman: New York, NY, 2014. (42) Huheey, J. E.; Keiter, E. A.; Keiter, R. L. Inorganic Chemistry: Principles of Structure and Reactivity, 4th ed.; HarperCollins: New York, NY, 1993. (43) Girolami, G. S.; Rauchfuss, T. B.; Angelici, R. J. Synthesis and Technique in Inorganic Chemistry: A Laboratory Manual, 3rd ed.; University Science Books: Sausalito, CA, 1999. (44) American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Education Examinations Institute. ACS Inorganic Chemistry Examination; American Chemical Society: Ames, IA, 2014. (45) American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Education Examinations Institute. ACS Foundations of Inorganic Chemistry Examination; American Chemical Society: Milwaukee, WI, 2016.

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