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Panel Review: Academic Motivation Scale-Chemistry (AMS-Chemistry)

(Post last updated June 23, 2022)

Review panel summary

The Academic Motivation Scale-Chemistry (AMS-Chemistry) is a 28-item, 7-factor Likert scale survey that was adapted to assess student motivation toward chemistry [1]. It has also been administered using a rank-sort response format and as a 21-item “short” version [4]. It has been evaluated with students enrolled in general chemistry [1, 4] and first semester organic chemistry [2, 3] in both traditional [1, 4] and flipped [2, 3] classroom environments at three universities in the United States. Several aspects of reliability and validity have been assessed for the data generated by the AMS-Chemistry. Test content evidence was established during initial development of the instrument by a review of the items by a panel of experts including the instrument authors and an educational psychologist [1]. After revision of the items, chemistry graduate students were added to the panel to provide additional commentary on the readability of the items and suitability of the items for the target audience [1]. Response process validity evidence was collected for the instrument through interviews with general chemistry students who were asked to complete the AMS-Chemistry instrument while explaining their reasoning for their answer choices [1]. The interviews demonstrated support for all but two items, which received minor modifications to wording to address subscale consistency. The correlational relationship between the subscales of the AMS-Chemistry and exam performance at multiple time points [1-3] offers validity evidence based on relations to other variables. Validity evidence based on the internal structure of collected Likert-scale data was established using confirmatory factor analysis [1-4]. Additional validity evidence for the rank-sort data was provided by comparing Likert-scale and rank-sort responses using cluster analysis [4]. Single administration reliability was estimated using Cronbach’s alpha for each of the seven subscales measured by the AMS-Chemistry [1-4].

Recommendations for use

According to the validity and reliability evidence reported in the literature, the AMS-Chemistry instrument can be used to measure student motivation across multiple classroom environments [1-4], at a single time point [1-4], or to investigate how student motivation changes throughout a course [1, 2]. However, evidence supporting measurement invariance across time points has not yet been established. The instrument can also be administered using a rank-sort response scale to reduce response-style bias that has been observed in Likert-scale instruments [4] and with a 21-item “short” version.

Details from panel review

The AMS-Chemistry was designed to measure student motivation towards chemistry. The validity and reliability evidence presented in the literature provides strong support for the intended use of this instrument in both traditional [1-4] and flipped classrooms [2, 3] with students enrolled in both general chemistry and organic I classes. Most importantly, no loss in fidelity of this instrument was observed for flipped or Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) classroom environments. The AMS-Chemistry measures motivation on seven subscales including both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors as well as amotivation. Correlations between subscores on the seven scales with student performance at different semester time points [1-3] revealed results consistent with the original instrument development and self-determination theory for all classroom contexts [1-4].


[1] Liu, Y., Ferrell, B., Barbera, J., & Lewis, J.E. (2017). Development and evaluation of a chemistry-specific version of the academic motivation scale (AMS-Chemistry). Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 18, 191-213.

[2] Liu, Y., Raker, J.R., & Lewis, J.E. (2018). Evaluating student motivation in organic chemistry courses: moving from a lecture-based to a flipped approach with peer-led team learning. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 19, 251-264.

[3] Raker, J.R., Gibbons, R.E., & Cruz-Ramírez de Arellano, D. (2019). Development and evaluation of the organic chemistry-specific achievement emotions questionnaire (AEQ-OCHEM). Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 56(2), 163-183.

[4] Wang, Y., & Lewis, S.E. (2022). Towards a theoretically sound measure of chemistry students’ motivation; investigating rank–sort survey methodology to reduce response style bias. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 23, 240-256.