Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
In Flanders (Belgium), when students decide to continue in higher education they are free to enrol in almost every study program, since there are no admission requirements, except for medicine or dentistry. The higher education system offers two types of bachelor’s degrees namely a professional (PBA) and an academic one (ABA). Both bachelors have a total weight of 180 ECTS, resulting in a three-year study program. The purpose of a PBA, organized at a University College, is to prepare students for a professional occupation. An ABA, arranged at a University, is intended to acquire all the necessary knowledge and skills to start a master’s program. In order to stimulate a flexible lifelong learning system, students with a professional bachelor’s degree can transfer to an academic master’s program on the condition that they successfully complete a one-year transfer program (TR). The TR focuses on acquiring the missing competences needed to start a master’s program. Unfortunately, the success rate of the TR at the Faculty of Engineering Technology, KU Leuven, is rather low. To provide transfer students with information about their possible future study success, a voluntary and non-binding mathematics diagnostic test was developed. The mathematics test consisted of 19 multiple choice questions and was held in 2015-2016 and in 2016-2017. Math lecturers categorized the multiple choice questions, based on their individual experience and by cross-checking with each other, into three levels of difficulty (i.e. easy, average and difficult) and five categories of subjects (i.e. algebra, calculus, elementary arithmetic, graphics, and geometry & trigonometry). Since mathematics was defined as one of the major stumbling blocks in a previous study and because the transfer students did not have had mathematics during their PBA, they need a tool to prepare themselves. Therefore a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) was developed for the transfer students of 2016-2017. Students who followed the MOOC (N=52) obtain significant higher results (t=3.186, p=.002) on the diagnostic test than the ones who did not (N=40). When students not had the opportunity to prepare themselves, the correlation between the diagnostic test and the students’ academic achievement (N=82) was not significant. In contrast, the diagnostic test of 2016-2017 (N=173) correlated significantly at the 0.01 level with academic achievement (r=.32). There is also a remarkable difference in the internal consistency (i.e. Cronbach alpha) of the mathematics test between the two academic years. In 2015-2016 (N=124) the Cronbach alpha was 0.54, which is low. In 2016-2017 (N=254) a much better consistency was found, namely 0.72. Thanks to the MOOC students obtain significant higher results on the diagnostic test and is the corresponding predictive value higher. By giving students the opportunity to refresh their knowledge, they are not graded on memory but on their capacities. To conclude, the two mathematical tools (i.e. diagnostic test and MOOC) are very useful as a preparation tool and for predicting the academic achievement of the transfer students.
Van den Broeck, L., & De Laet, T., & Van Soom, C., & Lacante, M., & Langie, G. (2018, June), Board 132: Study Success of Transfer Students in Engineering Technology: the Effect of a MOOC and a Math Diagnostic Test Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29924
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