CHM152 students routinely perform poorly on the review questions at the start of the semester.
An informal assessment of student knowledge on the start of semester shows that over half the students don't have the ability to answer some more complex review questions.
Adding improved scaffolding to the questions, guided them through the initial thought processes. Students routinely tried to write a balanced equation for a question where no reaction occurs, so we added the requirement of particle diagrams and a series of leading questions that guided the students to this understanding
The initial addition of questions, which did not include particle diagrams, did a great job of revealing exactly where the problems in conceptual understand lay, however they did little improve the success of the students as many remained confused. The questions were revised to include the diagrams and plus the wording of two other questions changed and the ability of the class to complete the problems improved to over 80% success.
The addition of scaffolding questions worked so well for this particular activity that I will be working on adding or improving them in many of my other exercises throughout the semester.