June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.305.1 - 12.305.11
Benefits of a Tutorial Mathematics Program for Engineering Students Enrolled in PreCalculus: A Template for Assessment
An interactive online tutorial program (ALEKS) was the focus of an engineering course created to increase the success of engineering students in a Precalculus class. Engineering students were embedded in two Precalculus courses with other students. An assessment rubric for measuring the effect of ALEKS on Precalculus grades of engineering students was developed and tested. While some of the results were not statistically significant, ALEKS was shown to have a generally positive effect on the math grades of students enrolled in the engineering course.
In fall 2006, the total undergraduate enrollment of Boise State University reached 16,017, of which 1,296 were enrolled in the College of Engineering. Approximately 61% of the university student body attends full-time. The fall 2006 freshman engineering enrollment is 440, in majors encompassing civil engineering, electrical engineering, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, construction management and undeclared engineering. The first-time, full-time freshman retention rate for Boise State University is 64% for engineering students, and 63% overall.1 This is low when compared with the national average2 of all four-year institutions, 69% and provides strong motivation for investigating ways to increase freshman success.
This study focuses on helping students succeed in Precalculus, a 5-credit mathematics course, in which 84 first-semester engineering students were enrolled in fall 2006 (19% of the incoming freshmen engineering class). An additional 37 engineering students classified as non-freshmen also enrolled in Precalculus (transfer students, repeat takers, etc.). These 121 engineering students were enrolled in ten sections of Precalculus which had an average enrollment of 33 students per section, with engineering students thus comprising 28% of the overall Precalculus enrollment. In fall 2006, the Precalculus “success rate,” defined as being the percent of students receiving an A, B or C grade, compared with all students enrolled (including A, B, C, D, F, and withdrawn students), was 58%; 189 out of 326 enrolled students passed Precalculus.
In an effort to increase the retention of pre-Freshman engineering students, two sections of a 4- credit, non-compulsory engineering course, ENGR 110 were offered for engineering students that were co-enrolled in Precalculus. The University enabled the construction of two Learning Communities intended to foster student retention at the University level. Each section of ENGR 110 was paired with an introductory English course (ENGL 101) and a Precalculus section. Engineering students enrolled in Learning Communities were assured reserved spaces in specific sections of ENGR 110, Precalculus, and ENGL 101, ensuring that the same students are embedded within the same sections of each course.
Two of these Engineering Learning Communities were established, corresponding with each section of ENGR 110. Enrollment in the Learning Communities was accomplished through
Callahan, J., & Guarino, J., & Chyung, S. Y., & Gardner, J., & Moll, A., & Pyke, P., & Schrader, C. (2007, June), Benefits Of A Tutorial Mathematics Program For Engineering Students Enrolled In Precalculus: A Template For Assessment Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2584
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