June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.238.1 - 22.238.17
Assessing First-year Calculus Knowledge and Skills needed for a Sophomore Statics and Dynamics CourseAnecdotally, engineering faculty members complain that students taking sophomore engineeringscience courses are not prepared with respect to mathematics. However, evidence has rarely beensystematically collected and analyzed to determine the veracity of these assertions. To begin toaddress this issue, the following steps were taken. First, engineering faculty members who taughta sophomore statics and dynamics course at a large public university were asked for problemsinvolving first-year calculus and mathematics that they thought students should be able to solvewhen they entered this course. For each problem, one or more learning outcomes wereabstracted. Given the set of learning outcomes engineering faculty members expected students tobe able to perform, a set of nine problems was generated to be given to students near thebeginning of the statics and dynamics course. The instrument has been administered to a set ofstudents who took the course summer 2010 as well as a set of students who took the course infall 2010. The paper will describe: • Some of the problems that were submitted by engineering faculty members • The set of learning outcomes that was generated • The pre-course assessment instrument for mathematical knowledge and skills that was generated, and • Results from over 350 students who took the pre-test.The intent of the paper is to clarify answers to two questions: • What do engineering faculty members expect students to know and be able to do when they begin a sophomore statics and dynamics course? • To what extent do students satisfy these expectations?After administering the instrument and analyzing the results, faculty members have a better ideaof the background of their students and can adjust course content. Further, there will be evidenceto examine the extent to which students are prepared in mathematics to begin a core engineeringscience course. Finally, the paper will also present changes that some faculty members made inthe course plans to apply what they learned about the extent of their students’ mathematicspreparation near the beginning of the course.
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