Asee peer logo

An Engineering Mathematics Course to Improve Success of Students in Algebra II

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Mathematics Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Edmund Tsang Western Michigan University

visit author page

Edmund Tsang received a B.S. with distinction in Mechanical Engineering from University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. in Metallurgy from Iowa State University. Dr. Tsang's current professional interests include integrating service-learning into engineering, social entrepreneurship, and student success and retention.

visit author page


Kenneth David Domingue Western Michigan University

visit author page

Kenneth Domingue is currently a graduate student in Aerospace Engineering at Western Michigan University. As a graduate assistant for the STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP), he has assisted in data collecting and analysis and mentoring undergraduates. He is also a student assistant in the engineering mathematics course.

visit author page

author page

Sarah Gray Hagen Western Michigan University

author page

Rebecca A. Scheffers Western Michigan University

author page

Lenore Yaeger

author page

Katherine Fox Western Michigan University

Download Paper |


Historically, students with ACT-MATH sub-score of 19 to 23 are considered to be under-prepared in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies, and their success as measured by second-year retention to STEM has been low. Summer Bridge [1] and Peer Mentor [2] have been implemented by some engineering programs to support the success of this student population. To better inform this student group of the academic pathway, the admissions requirement into the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) at our institution was revised in fall 2012 in which students must achieve a grade of B or better in Algebra II in no more than two attempts before they can advance into the Pre-Engineering, Pre-Engineering Technology, or Computer Science programs. In conjunction with the admissions revision, we created the CEAS Exploratory (CEAS-EXP) program to support the students. In the CEAS-EXP program, students are placed in cohorts, and students in a cohort are enrolled in the same section of Algebra II, a First-Year Experience (FYE) seminar, and an engineering mathematics course. The engineering mathematics course is adopted from the National Model of Engineering Mathematics Education supported by the National Science Foundation [3], which integrates mathematics with engineering applications. The engineering math course is conducted in a hybrid format in which students view video lectures prior to class; take a quiz on the video lecture materials at the start of the class period; and spend the class period working problems under the guidance of the student assistants. This paper will describe the details of the curriculum and format of the engineering mathematics course. It will also describe the results of the CEAS-EXP program based on student academic performance in Algebra II and Precalculus, and retention to engineering or applied sciences. The percent of CEAS-EXP students who achieved a grade of B or better in Algebra II has increased from 38.7% in 2012 (baseline) to 61.1% in 2014. Performance of the CEAS-EXP students in Algebra II and Precalculus will also be compared with a comparison group of university students taking these two courses. Engineering programs with similar student demographics as our institution may be interested in this paper because the engineering mathematics course and the CEAS-EXP program can be implemented at relatively low cost to support the success of the Algebra II students.

References 1. White, C., Curtis, M., and Martin, C. (2001). “Pre-Freshman Accelerated Curriculum in Engineering (PACE) Summer Bridge Program,” Proceeding of American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, June 24-27, Alberquerque, NM, Session 1653. 2. Budny, D., Paul, C.A., and Bon, L. (2006). “The Impact of Peer Mentoring Can Have on Freshman Students,” Proceedings of Frontiers in Education Conference, San Diego, CA, Oct. 28-31, 2006, CD-Rom, Session M2E. 3. Klingbeil, N. and Bourne, A. (2013). “A National Model for Engineering Mathematics Education: Longitudinal Impact at Wright State University,” Proceedings of American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, June 23-26, Atlanta GA, Paper #7708.

Tsang, E., & Domingue, K. D., & Hagen, S. G., & Scheffers, R. A., & Yaeger, L., & Fox, K. (2016, June), An Engineering Mathematics Course to Improve Success of Students in Algebra II Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26580

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: © 2016 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