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Does A Successful Mathematics Bridge Program Make For Successful Students?

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Freshman Success/Retention Strategies

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.441.1 - 7.441.9



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Main Menu Session 1653

Does a Successful Mathematics Bridge Program Make for Successful Students? Heidi Diefes-Dux Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN


The Mathematics Summer Bridge Program, offered by the Department of Freshman Engineering since 1990, is an intense one-week review of algebra and trigonometry and introduction to Purdue University designed for the beginning freshman engineer. The target audience for this program is students who have been identified as having math skills deficiencies during summer registration. Changes in directorship, program format, and philosophy introduced in 2000 and 2001 have yielded an average pass rate on the MA 151 credit exam of 86%, a very significant increase over previous years. This has led to an increase in "at risk" student enrollment in first semester calculus. Student evaluations of the program and the credit exam pass rate seemingly indicate that the program is successful. Student performance data, including first semester GPA, math course grades, and retention in engineering and at the university have been collected for 2000 and 2001. This paper will compare first semester performance of Math Bridge participants to non-Bridge participants as well as 2000 and 2001 participants.

I. Introduction

Since 1990, the Department of Freshman Engineering has been offering the Mathematics Summer Bridge Program (Bridge) which is designed to help freshman engineering students identify and overcome weaknesses in algebra and trigonometry attributed to their high school education. The goal of this program is to elevate each student's high school mathematics background and prepare each student to succeed in the required university level math sequence. One of the goals of the Department of Freshman Engineering is to "retain tomorrow's leaders". This program is devoted to orienting students in how to study and succeed in a college course while bolstering math skills.

The program focuses on: · Preparing students for the MA151- Algebra and Trigonometry credit exam, · Enabling students to assess their math background and preparation for calculus, while beginning to appreciate and develop college level study skills, · Assisting students in developing problem solving strategies, and · Introducing students to cooperative learning. This is an intense 6-day review of college algebra and trigonometry that concludes with a credit exam for MA 151 - Algebra and Trigonometry.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Diefes-Dux, H. (2002, June), Does A Successful Mathematics Bridge Program Make For Successful Students? Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10324

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