Examining some of the challenges students face in learning about rearrangement reactions in organic chemistry
Issa I. Salame 1 * , Ali Y. Khalil 2
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1 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The City College of New York, The City University of New York, New York, NY, USA2 Department of Biology, The City College of New York, The City University of New York, New York, NY, USA* Corresponding Author


Organic chemistry course is considered one of the most difficult courses students have to take as part of their academic science and engineering requirements. The purpose of this research project is to examine students’ perceptions about the challenges they face in learning about rearrangement reactions and their approaches to improve their learning and performance in the concepts while learning organic chemistry. The research investigation took place at the City College of New York, a minority serving, commuter institute in an urban environment. The research participants were students who have completed at least one course of organic chemistry. The research instrument used in this investigation consisted of a questionnaire that was made up of Likert-scale and open-ended questions. The Likert-type questions were on a five-point scale that were converted into numerical, and the averages of the students’ responses were taken. For the open-ended, the data was coded and compiled based on categories and similarities, converted into percentages and used to create bar charts. Our research findings suggest that students face challenges in learning about rearrangement reactions and their mechanisms and that relying on memorization and rote learning to solve them hinders the development of conceptual understanding. The data seem to suggest that students do not understand the significance of energy as a driving force in the transformations and pathways from reactants to products. Lastly, the data reveal that students lack the ability to apply the correct knowledge to solve problems involving rearrangement reactions and mechanisms, which inhibits their meaningful learning and conceptual understanding development.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

INTERDISCIP J ENV SCI ED, 2023, Volume 19, Issue 3, Article No: e2310


Publication date: 01 Jul 2023

Online publication date: 14 Apr 2023

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