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Effect of Targeted Tutoring, Study Group Formation, and Self-Efficacy on First-Year Engineering Student Success

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2020 ASEE North Central Section conference


Morgantown, West Virginia

Publication Date

March 27, 2020

Start Date

March 27, 2020

End Date

May 20, 2020

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Matthew Cavalli Western Michigan University

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Dr. Cavalli is Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

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FTIAC (First Time In Any College) students in the College of Engineering at a university in the midwest who place into Algebra II (MATH 1100) are statistically less likely to be retained in the College and to complete their degree. Several interventions and support services have been put into place over the past few years to improve their outcomes, but the success of this group still significantly lags that of other FTIACs in the College. The current study seeks to evaluate the impact of a semi-intrusive tutoring scheme, student self-efficacy beliefs, and the formation of student study groups on success of students placing into Algebra II during their first semester. Mathematics tutoring is currently available both through College-sponsored centers as well as centers sponsored by the College of Arts&Sciences. However, past discussions with engineering students in MATH 1100 have revealed that many of them do not take advantage of these resources and many students also resist forming study groups for academic support. In this study, rather than hoping students will come to the tutors, we have reserved the same classroom space immediately after one section of ENGR 2100 (an academic support class into which most MATH 1100-placed students enroll). Students will be encouraged by the ENGR 2100 instructor to stay in the classroom, work in groups and receive help from the tutors on assignments in MATH 1100 and ENGR 1002 (a problem-based course that accompanies MATH 1100 for engineering students). The same instructor teaches all sections of ENGR 2100. For the two sections not scheduled immediately before these tutoring sessions, most students’ schedules would still allow them to attend at least once per week. They will be encouraged to participate in the tutoring sessions as able, to form study groups regardless of whether or not they participate in these tutoring sessions, and to make regular use of other academic support services. All students in ENGR 2100 will be encouraged to participate in the study to determine whether this approach to tutoring has made a positive impact. The students’ initial self-efficacy beliefs related to a variety of college-related activities will be surveyed and compared with results from the end of the semester to determine any changes and potential relationships with student success and retention.

Cavalli, M. (2020, March), Effect of Targeted Tutoring, Study Group Formation, and Self-Efficacy on First-Year Engineering Student Success Paper presented at 2020 ASEE North Central Section conference, Morgantown, West Virginia.

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