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Analysis of Math Course Placement Improvement and Sustainability Achieved Through a Summer Bridge Program

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.186.1 - 25.186.16



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Paper Authors


John R. Reisel University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

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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. Reisel was a 2005 recipient of the UWM Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, the 2000 UWM-College of Engineering and Applied Science Outstanding Teaching Award, and a 1998 recipient of the SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award.
Reisel is a member of ASEE, ASME, the Combustion Institute, and SAE. 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.

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Marissa Jablonski University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

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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 and works to recruit and retain undergraduate minorities and women to UWM’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Jablonski is focusing her dissertation on sustainable oxidation of textile wastewater and is working to create small-scale wastewater treatment units for cottage textile industries. She trained at the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in Nagpur, India where she worked on biodegradation of azo dye intermediates. Jablonski served as Co-chair of UWM’s student chapter of Engineers Without Borders for two years since its inception in 2007 and continues to help design and implement water distribution projects in Guatemala. Jablonski was a 2008 recipient of the NSF Graduate Fellowship Honorable Mention, the 2008 Wisconsin Water Association Scholarship, and the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 UWM Chancellor’s Graduate Student Awards. Jablonski is a member of ASEE and EWB. She received her B.S. degree in natural resources and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point in 2003, her M.S. degree in civil/environmental engineering from UWM in 2009, and will receive her Ph.D. in civil/environmental engineering from UWM in 2013.

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Leah Rineck

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Ethan V. Munson University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee


Hossein Hosseini University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

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Hoessein Hosseini has received his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Iowa in 1982. He has been a faculty member with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM) since 1983. Currently he is professor and Chairman of the Computer Science Program. Hosseini’s expertise is in the areas of computer networks, computer architecture, fault-tolerance, and distributed and parallel computing. He is the Founder and Co-director of the Computer Networks Laboratory at UWM. Hosseini has published more than 120 research papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings. One of his co-authored papers has won the Best Paper Award, and he has published two book chapters. He is the recipient of a patent in the field of computer networks. He has supervised nine Ph.D. and more than 60 M.S. students and has received funding from NSF and industry. Hosseini is an internationally known figure; he has served on the editorial board of a journal and on the program committee of several international conferences. He regularly reviews research papers for various journals and conference proceedings and textbooks for book publishers. Hosseini has played a leading role in the development of electrical engineering and computer science programs, including the development of the new B.S. degree program in computer engineering, the initiation of the computer science program accreditation by ABET, and the growth and expansion of curricula in computer architecture and computer networks, where he has developed several undergraduate and graduate courses. Hosseini has extensive administrative experience, as well. In addition to serving as the computer science chair, he has served in important committees such as the College of Engineering and Applied Science Strategic Planning Committee, the Division of Natural Sciences Executive Committee, and the UWM Senate.

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Analysis of Math Course Placement Improvement and Sustainability Achieved Through a Summer Bridge ProgramAbstractAs part of an NSF-supported project, a summer bridge program for incoming engineeringand computer science freshmen was conducted in 2009 and 2010. The primary purposeof this program was to improve the mathematics course placement for incoming studentswho initially place into a course below Calculus I as determined through a mathplacement examination. The students retake the university’s math placementexamination at the end of the bridge program to determine if they may enroll into a moreadvanced mathematics course. Generally, if a student improves his or her mathplacement, the program is considered successful for that student. However, it is alsoimportant in evaluating the success of the program to consider the performance of thestudents in their Fall semester math courses.The mathematics portion of the bridge program centers on using the ALEKS softwarepackage for targeted, self-guided learning. The program took place exclusively in an on-campus format, and also featured a required residential component and additionalengineering activities for the students. The program’s duration was 4 weeks, andstudents were expected to improve their math placement by at least one semester. It isexpected that improving their math placement will reduce the student’s time-to-graduation which should in turn improve retention rates and eventually graduation rates.Data from the 2009 and 2010 cohorts have been collected and analyzed to judge theeffectiveness of the program with respect to both improving the students’ math placementand the students’ performance in future math courses. A lower percentage of students(69%) improved their math course placement in the 2009 cohort, but all categories ofbridge program students performed as well as the class average in the Fall 2009 semester.For the 2010 cohort, students succeeded at improving their math placement at a higherrate (83%), but the overall performance of the cohort in their Fall 2010 semester mathcourses was not as good as the previous year’s cohort’s first-semester performance.The changes made in the program between 2009 and 2010 are discussed in the paper, asare the results of the programs and subsequent math course performance. Furtherrevisions made for a 2011 program are also described.

Reisel, J. R., & Jablonski, M., & Rineck, L., & Munson, E. V., & Hosseini, H. (2012, June), Analysis of Math Course Placement Improvement and Sustainability Achieved Through a Summer Bridge Program Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20946

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