The IUPAC unit that measures the fundamental quantity “amount of substance”, the mole, and its related concepts have been repeatedly reported to be a source of confusion for students and educators at all levels. Literature shows that students have grave difficulty in incorporating and transferring their understanding of the mole at both the sub-microscopic and macroscopic levels (Indriyanti and Barke
2017). Myriad variables exacerbate learning and teaching of the mole concept, but one crucial factor that affects it is student attitudes towards chemistry.
The study employed an explanatory sequential mixed methods design to focus on how attitudes towards chemistry affect achievement in mole concept chemistry. It was conducted with preliminary and level one students at the three campuses of the University of the West Indies (UWI). A convenience sample of 471 students participated in the quantitative portion, while thirty-nine students provided feedback via interviews for the qualitative part. The quantitative portion was analysed using a combination of descriptive analyses and parametric tests of significance, while the qualitative data were analysed using qualitative content analysis. The results indicated that the students involved are performing at an average level in mole concept chemistry, and this achievement is dependent on their attitudes towards chemistry.
Furthermore, negative attitudes towards chemistry, exacerbated by decreased self-efficacy, were vividly expressed as one of the greatest barriers to effective learning and teaching of the mole concept. The participants indicated that the teacher’s disposition is key to either worsening or improving their performance in mole concept chemistry. The findings of this novel research in the Caribbean provide insight that could inform and enhance the instructional strategies of educators in the Caribbean and other regions, which could be a catalyst for positive achievement. Thus, it can provide an avenue for developing more positive student attitudes through self-efficacious teaching strategies, which are essential for fostering increased achievement and positive attitudes towards the mole concept.