Asee peer logo

A Study of the Impact of Peer-Led Team Learning on the First-Year Math Course Performance of Engineering Students

Download Paper |


2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.114.1 - 23.114.15

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


John R. Reisel University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

visit author page

Dr. John R. Reisel is an associate professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). He serves as associate director of the Center for Alternative Fuels, and co-director of the Energy Conversion Efficiency Lab. In addition to research into engineering education, his research efforts focus on combustion and energy utilization. Dr. Reisel was a 2005 recipient of the UWM Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, a 2000 recipient of the UWM College of Engineering and Applied Science Outstanding Teaching Award, and a 1998 recipient of the SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award. Dr. Reisel is a member of ASEE, ASME, the Combustion Institute, and SAE. Dr. Reisel received his B.M.E. degree from Villanova University in 1989, his M.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 1991, and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 1994.

visit author page


Marissa Jablonski University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

visit author page

Marissa R. Jablonski is a Ph.D. student of Civil/Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). She serves as program coordinator of the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded FORTE (Fostering Opportunities for Tomorrow's Engineers) program at UWM. Jablonski is focusing her dissertation on sustainable oxidation of textile waste water and is working to create small-scale waste water treatment units for cottage textile industries. She trained at the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in Nagpur, India where she worked on bio-degradation of azo dye intermediates. Jablonski served as co-chair of UWM’s student chapter of Engineers Without Borders for two years after its inception in 2007. She continues to help design and implement water distribution projects in Guatemala. Jablonski was a 2012 recipient of NSF’s EAPSI fellowship in China; a 2008 recipient of the NSF Graduate Fellowship Honorable Mention; the 2008 recipient of the Wisconsin Water Association Scholarship; and the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 recipient of the UWM Chancellor’s Graduate Student Awards. Jablonski is a member of ASEE, EWB, SWE, and ASCE. She received her B.S. degree in Natural Resources and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 2003 and her M.S. degree in Civil/Environmental Engineering from UWM in 2009. She will receive her Ph.D. in Civil/Environmental Engineering from UWM in 2013.

visit author page

author page

Ethan Munson University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Download Paper |


A STUDY OF THE IMPACT OF PEER-LED TEAM LEARNING ON THE FIRST-YEAR MATH COURSE PERFORMANCE OF ENGINEERING STUDENTSAbstractAs part of an NSF-sponsored STEP grant, formal peer-led team learning study groupswere created for first-year engineering and computer science students. The groups wereorganized around the math course taken by the students so that all students in the studygroup were taking the same math course. In both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academicyears, these groups were offered as a formal class, with students receiving a grade basedupon participation. This was done to stress the importance of the groups to the students,and increase the level of participation by the students. Work with the groups in previousyears showed that increased levels of participation led to greater impacts on studentgrades.Study groups typically featured 8-10 students, and were directed by an upper-levelengineering or computer science student. The student leader would pose problems to thestudents in the class. These problems came from homework assigned in the math classes,additional non-assigned problems from the math books, and outside sources. Thestudents then work on the problems together, until a solution is found. The student leaderwould provide guidance if the students were unable to solve a problem withoutassistance, but would not completely solve the problems for the students.Approximately 73% of the first-year students in engineering and computer scienceparticipated in these study groups in 2010-11, with most students attending most of theweekly sessions. This participation rate increased to 82% in 2011-12. The impact of thestudy groups on students in Calculus-level classes (Calculus I and II) was strong. Whencompared to all students in the Calculus courses who did not participate in the studygroups, the grades of the students who participated in the study groups were generally0.4-0.7 points (on a 4-point scale) higher. However, the results at the Pre-Calculus level(College Algebra and Trigonometry) were not as impressive. Students in the studygroups in College Algebra only had average grades 0.2 points higher than non-participants, while the Trigonometry students demonstrated little impact from the studygroups. This difference may be a result of the students’ self-perceived need for the studygroups, with Calculus-level students seeing greater benefit from the groups and taking thegroups more seriously.In this paper, the format of the study groups will be described in detail, and a detailedanalysis of the impact of the study groups on the student grades will be presented.

Reisel, J. R., & Jablonski, M., & Munson, E. (2013, June), A Study of the Impact of Peer-Led Team Learning on the First-Year Math Course Performance of Engineering Students Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2013 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015