Making a College Physics Course More Student-Friendly and Less Hostile.

Introduction: Is the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate in Physics (CSECPhys) a prerequisite for College Physics (CP)? College X says yes. University Y, the course franchise owner, says little. Students at College X continue to freely register for CP with a large portion being uninitiated in Physics.

Methods: CP scores for student cohorts from 2011 to 2016 at College X were analyzed against College Mathematics (CM) scores and Science Qualifications (SQ) whilst controlling for conscientiousness. In study A, SQ was operationalized as: Q1 = grade 1 or 2 in CSECPhys, Q2 = grade 3 in CSECPhys, Q3 = did not take CSECPhys but has passes in CSEC Biology (Bio) or Chemistry (Chem), Q5 = a failing grade in: CSECPhys, CSECBio or CSECChem or never doing science beyond ninth grade. In study B, CP scores of those passing CSEC: Integrated Science (IS) or Electrical Technology (ET), Q4, were compared with Q1 and Q5 scores.

Results: Study B showed a difference in CP scores between Q4 and Q5 but none between Q4 and Q1. In study A, Q1 students had the highest CP scores. Q2 students had higher CP scores than Q5. Q3 students did not distinguish themselves and Q5 students had the lowest CP scores.

Discussion: Passes in CSECPhys seem to enhance CP performance. CSEC IS and ET seemingly mollify disadvantages of not being in Q1. Q3 and Q5 students suffered from flattened scores in CP. Naming and enforcing CSECPhys or IS or ET as a prerequisite should restore student-friendliness to CP.

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