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An Evaluation Of Using A Study Team Seminar Course To Increase Retention Of Students In Introductory Math And Physics Courses

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Physics in the K-16 Classroom

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.194.1 - 8.194.12



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Paper Authors

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Nicole Loock

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Joan Dannenhoffer

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2480

An Evaluation of Using a Study Team Seminar Course to Increase Retention of

Students in Introductory Math and Physics Courses

Joan V. Dannenhoffer, Nicole Loock

State University of New York, Morrisville


One of the unseen costs in college education is the high freshman year dropout rate experienced in most two- and four-year colleges. Although there has been a significant body of literature discussing retention programs, the overall retention rate has not changed very much over the last century. Recently, several universities have expended considerable resources to ameliorate freshman-year attrition rates. A new approach, which is student-centered and requires fewer resources than many retention programs, has been pioneered at SUNY Morrisville. This approach, described herein, is a Study Team Seminar Course (STSC) based on the concept of teaching students how to form effective study teams with the support of a facilitator. The main goal of the program is to foster student connections that are necessary for retention, while the students build skills that will improve their chance of academic success. The program, which was piloted in the Fall of 2002 for gatekeeper courses in mathematics and physics, was tuned and re- offered in the Spring of 2003. Improved grades, increased class-participation, and improved group development skills and study skills, as reported by surveys of students, faculty, and staff, are the preliminary results of the program. Along with the detailed STSC description, a review of the current retention research and the educational philosophies and models used to design the course is included. Based upon the qualitative results from the pilot and first full-scale offering, improvements that will be made in the future are described.

I. Background

Freshman year dropout rates over the period from 1983 – 2001 at two-year and four-year public and private institutions have ranged anywhere from 26% to 46.9% [1]. Despite much effort,

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Loock, N., & Dannenhoffer, J. (2003, June), An Evaluation Of Using A Study Team Seminar Course To Increase Retention Of Students In Introductory Math And Physics Courses Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12105

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