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Calculus Readiness and Retention Rates for Home-schooled Students in a Four-year Engineering Program

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Mathematics Division Technical Session 4: Assessing Success in Mathematics Education

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Danielle Marie Fredette Cedarville University

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Danielle Fredette received her Ph.D. degree from The Ohio State University's College of Engineering (Columbus, OH) in 2017, her M.S. also from The Ohio State Univeristy in 2016, and her B.S.E.E. from Cedarville University (Cedarville, OH) in 2012, during which time she participated in research as an intern at the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, OH, in the Radar Instrumentation Lab. While researching for her Ph.D, she was a University Fellow and then a GATE Fellow with The Ohio State University's Center for Automotive Research and its Control and Intelligent Transportation Research Lab. She is currently serving as an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cedarville University. Research interests include control for multi-agent systems and autonomous ground vehicles.

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____ University has an unusually large population of students who were homeschooled when they graduated from high school (about 1/5 of students university wide and 1/4 of students currently enrolled in the School of Engineering and Computer Science). In this paper, I investigate the retention rate and calculus readiness for homeschooled students entering the School of Engineering and Computer Science as compared with their non-homeschooled peers.

In this study, I hypothesized that homeschooled students might have a different likelihood to succeed in engineering school compared to their non-homeschooled peers. The results of the data study support this hypothesis and suggest that homeschooled students are more likely than others to succeed in engineering school, with retention in (and graduation from) the School of Engineering and Computer Science as the primary metric of success. Data studied include ACT composite and ACT math scores, retention rates, and scores from an internal math placement test administered to all incoming freshmen. The results also begin to narrow down the likely reasons why homeschoolers tend to perform differently than their peers. Higher rates of calculus readiness upon entry into college is considered as a possible explanation for homeschooled students' increased retention. However math preparedness scores are not found to set homeschooled students apart from others. Therefore, even though neither group of students studied is apparently disadvantaged in math preparedness, homeschoolers have higher retention rates and are therefore more likely to graduate in engineering. While the data studied does not offer a cause for this retention difference, I identify in the literature and discuss in the paper the possible explanation of homeschoolers tending to be more indpendent learners and therefore more successful in engineering school.

Fredette, D. M. (2020, June), Calculus Readiness and Retention Rates for Home-schooled Students in a Four-year Engineering Program Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34251

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