Brandon, for students to learn how to process things step-by-step, they must be taught all the steps, required to perform all the steps, and be provided a LOT of practice with it.
My opinion, if they are having trouble with this as AlgebraII/Chemistry students, the problem needs to be addressed to the Algebra I teachers. Explain your concern and ask them to focus more on this process.
I am a math teacher (if that weren't obvious...lol). Here's my method for teaching step-by-steps. I write each step in detail on the whiteboard (so it will be visible for reference). The students copy down the steps as I write them. Then I move to the overhead to work examples, constantly referring to the steps on the board as I perform them. After each step, I ask "What questions do you have at this point?" I address each question fully and elaborate. We'll work three or four examples (or more if the topic requires it and time permits) each time referring back to the steps on the board.
On the last example, I tell the students to work it independently, remembering to follow all the steps. The students work the problem and after an appropriate amount of time, I'll display the answer so they can check their work. This is my guided practice.
When the students are working on the assignment in class, I circulate and address them individually. Instead of reiterating the steps, I ask the students to parrot them back to me. Essentially, it forces them to think about it.
I hope this has been helpful, if not a little too wordy. Share this approach with the Algebra teachers (both I and II). It will help strengthen their skills if you are all using the same approach.
P.S. Please let me know if they are receptive to the idea. I like to know if I'm giving good advice. Also, please share any amendments or comments they might provide. I'm always looking to expand my professional knowledge base.