June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Supplemental Instruction (SI), an active learning module in which undergraduate students hold optional sessions outside of lecture, has been shown to have great success at the College of Engineering (CoE) at Louisiana State University (LSU) when implemented into large enrollment courses that have a high likelihood of the student receiving a D, F or W. Previous research has shown that SI gives significant benefit to all students who participate, including above average and students from underrepresented groups. Minority students often face disadvantages when taking these courses due to a weaker educational background or sense of belonging. Programs that are inclusive of all diversity groups have been successful in raising the performance of at-risk students to the same level as their peers. Combining active learning into these programs can have further benefits as well; this has been shown by the U.S. Department of Education, Redish and Longfellow. The goal of this research is to study the effects of SI and how this program may impact minority students, who make up 16.2% of the student population. Without incentivizing students, the SI program at LSU has found that ethnic minority students (defined here as African-American, Hispanic and Asian) have utilized SI more than Caucasian students. Students from all minority groups who do not participate in SI have a lower chance of passing a course than Caucasian students with no attendance in SI sessions, but as attendance increases, the gap between passing rates steadily decreases to a statistically indistinguishable amount for Hispanic and Asian students. Although African-American students continue to underperform compared to Caucasian students with SI attendance, they show the largest gains in passing rates of any group (34% increase). Further analysis between genders and socioeconomic status found that female and low-socioeconomic students attend sessions at a slightly higher rates than males and students of high-socioeconomic status. Females perform higher with regular session attendance, whereas they perform near equal to that of males with no session attendance. It was found that low-socioeconomic students underperform with no session attendance with the gap closing to within 2.8% of course passing rates once attending SI regularly. Although this program has been shown to positively impact engineering course success for all students in LSU’s CoE, it is clear that SI is even more beneficial for underrepresented groups. SI is in essence closing the gap for minority students by helping them to overcome academic hurdles in an open, non-discriminatory environment.
Gegenheimer, J. B., & Wilson, C. A., & Steele, A., & Waggenspack, W. N. (2017, June), Closing the Gap: Using Supplemental Instruction as a Tool to Assist Minorities in Engineering Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28042
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