A new resource for chemistry educators: CHemistry Instrument Review and Assessment Library (CHIRAL)

Regis Komperda
Assistant Professor
San Diego State University

Need: Evaluating the effectiveness of educational practices and interventions requires the use of evidence-based assessment instruments to measure a range of variables such as motivation, understanding, and types of teaching approaches. Selecting appropriate assessment instruments is critically important to ensure that the intended variables of interest are being measured to an acceptable degree of accuracy and precision. Guiding Question: This work is guided by the question “How can we increase the capacity of chemistry educators for making evidence supported measurements?” We address this by developing a centralized resource chemistry educators can use when selecting appropriate assessment instruments. Currently, many options exist, such as 1) utilizing a published instrument from the literature, 2) modifying an existing instrument to better fit their requirements, or 3) creating their own instrument. Each method has benefits and drawbacks, and all require a major time investment to locate, read, and synthesize the relevant literature and determine which method is optimal for a given situation. Therefore, this project is designed to help chemistry educators and chemistry education researchers to answer the following questions: 1) What assessment instruments are available for use within the chemistry education community? and 2) What evidence supports the data generated with these instruments?Outcomes: The CHemistry Instrument Review and Assessment Library (CHIRAL) has been developed to ease this burden by compiling information on nearly 700 assessment instruments from the chemistry education research literature into a single searchable website. The CHIRAL resource not only lists instruments by topic and format, but provides critical information on the validity and reliability of data collected with the instrument in various contexts. This data quality evidence is further supported by peer review panel summaries synthesizing the evidence to provide guidance on contexts where the use of the instrument is supported. A glossary also helps users to understand some of the more technical terms used in instrument development and evaluation. Broader Impacts: The CHIRAL project supports high-quality undergraduate chemistry education by promoting the adoption of evidence-based tools for assessing instruction. The combination of the website, peer-review process, and glossary together increase the rigor of the assessment process, enhance the value of scholarly work in instrument development, and reduce the time educators and researchers dedicate to locating or developing appropriate assessments for their needs.


Jack Barbera, Portland State University, Portland OR; Jordan Harshman, Auburn University, Auburn AL