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Enhancing Student Success in Rigorous Course Through Reinforcement of Prerequisite Knowledge

Poster 9

5/21/24, 9:30 PM

This study explores the impact of reinforcing foundational knowledge on student success in challenging biochemistry course, aiming to boost students' confidence and optimize learning outcomes.

Ning Sui

North Carolina State University


Prerequisite Knowledge,
Student Success,
Educational Strategies

Principles of Biochemistry, an upper-level major’s survey course, is notoriously known for being challenging. This keystone course extensively builds upon prerequisite knowledge from organic chemistry. Yet, many students lack a strong foundation in organic chemistry, turning an already demanding course into an overwhelming ordeal. To address this, our study introduced an organic chemistry review module to reinforce key concepts and better prepare students for biochemistry. Results showed a strong correlation between engagement in the module and progressive course performance. Further study will be performed to validate this correlation, while the methodology is applicable to challenging courses in other STEM fields.

Hear it from the author:

Enhancing Student Success in Rigorous Course Through Reinforcement of Prerequisite Knowledge


Hello and thank you for visiting our poster! I'm Ning Sui from North Carolina State University, and I'm
excited to share our efforts to boost student success in biochemistry by reinforcing foundational organic
chemistry knowledge. I teach Principles of Biochemistry, a major’s survey course that is notoriously
intense. Many students struggle or get a tough start due to weak orgo foundations. To address this, we
introduced an adaptive organic chemistry review module designed to refresh and reinforce specific key
concepts and better prepare students for the complexities of biochemistry. We observed a strong
correlation between student engagement with the module and good course performance, indicating
that a solid foundation is essential for student confidence and success. While we're continuing to
explore this correlation, we are also looking to apply our methodology to other demanding STEM
courses using adaptive learning, to promote all students’ success. Thank you for your interest, and I look
forward to discussing our results and potential applications with you!

Kopecki‐Fjetland, M. A., & Steffenson, M. (2021). Design and implementation of active learning strategies to enhance student understanding of foundational concepts in biochemistry. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 49(3), 446–456. 

Scimone, A., & Scimone, A. A. (1996). The Importance of Undergraduate General and Organic Chemistry to the Study of Biochemistry in Medical School. Journal of Chemical Education, 73(12), 1153. 

Taylor, A. T. S., Olofson, E. L., & Novak, W. R. P. (2017). Enhancing student retention of prerequisite knowledge through pre‐class activities and in‐class reinforcement. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 45(2), 97–104. 

Wright, R., Cotner, S., & Winkel, A. (2009). Minimal Impact of Organic Chemistry Prerequisite on Student Performance in Introductory Biochemistry. 8.

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