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An Elective Mathematics Readiness Initiative for STEM Students

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Mathematics Division Technical Session 1

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Page Count


Page Numbers

26.181.1 - 26.181.10



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Paper Authors


Janet Callahan Boise State University Orcid 16x16

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Janet Callahan is the Founding Associate Dean for the College of Engineering at Boise State University and a Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department. Dr. Callahan received her Ph.D. in Materials Science, her M.S. in Metallurgy and her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Connecticut. Her educational research interests include freshmen engineering programs, math success, K-12 STEM curriculum and accreditation, and retention and recruitment of STEM majors.

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Judith A. Garzolini Boise State University

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Judith (Jude) Garzolini is the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant Project Manager for the Idaho STEP grant at Boise State University. She is responsible for managing the $1 Million grant to plan and implement activities focused on increasing the throughput of graduates in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. During her over 23-year career in industry she worked for Hewlett-Packard Company where she contributed as both an R&D project manager and program manager in the disk drive and printing supplies businesses.

Jude received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Wayne State University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Davis. She was the 2007 national president of the Society of Women Engineers. Her educational research interests include recruitment and retention of women and minorities in STEM related fields, with a special focus on engineering.

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An Elective Mathematics Readiness Initiative for STEM StudentsThis paper reports on the longitudinal results of an online elective mathematics readiness initiative forundergraduate students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Thisinitiative was put in place in summer of 2010, and over five years has involved 823 total users. Theinitiative utilized an online commercial system for mathematics learning, and was focused mainly on thecontent associated with preparation for Calculus and preparation for Pre-Calculus. Funding to enablethe initiative was derived from the National Science Foundation under a Science, Talent ExpansionProgram grant. The licenses were issued to students who then had 77 days of learning available to them.Incentives for participation were provided, including bookstore awards ($100 to $200) if a certainthreshold for learning was achieved by the student. These thresholds included from 15 to 20 hours oflearning, to 95% completion of course content. This paper reports on the methodology for recruitingstudents to the initiative, on the longitudinal results of students in subsequent mathematics as afunction of effort put into their online mathematic review, on adjustments made to the initiative overtime as we learned more about student behavior and motivation, and on student retention of thissubset of students in STEM majors.

Callahan, J., & Garzolini, J. A. (2015, June), An Elective Mathematics Readiness Initiative for STEM Students Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23520

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