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Engineering Introduction in Pre-Calculus Courses

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.512.1 - 23.512.8



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Paper Authors


Richard M. Bennett University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Dr. Richard Bennett is a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and is director of Engineering Fundamentals.

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Margaret Helen Russell University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Margaret Russell is director of Engineering Advising Services for the College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

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Claudia J Rawn University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Engineering Introduction in Pre‐Calculus Courses   Of the 565 freshman engineering students admitted at University X in Fall 2011, 23% were placed in a pre‐calculus course their first semester during orientation advising.  Nine percent of the students placed in pre‐calculus were successful in bumping themselves up to the first calculus course through either AP credit, taking a pre‐calculus course during the summer, or passing a math placement test.  This left 21% of the incoming freshman engineering class in a pre‐calculus course.  The first calculus course is a co‐requisite for the first engineering course, so the students in the pre‐calculus course had no contact with the college of engineering in the fall semester.  Only 64% of these students remained in engineering, taking calculus and the first engineering course in spring semester.  In order to improve retention of the pre‐calculus students, three intervention techniques were used in Fall 2012:  a learning community was offered to these students, students were placed together in pre‐calculus sections, and engineering professors visited the pre‐calculus classes about every other week.  When visiting the pre‐calculus class, the engineering professor would spend five minutes showing an engineering application of the math concepts that were being covered in the class.  This paper provides initial data on the effectiveness of the interventions, and an overview of the engineering applications that were covered in the pre‐calculus class.  

Bennett, R. M., & Russell, M. H., & Rawn, C. J. (2013, June), Engineering Introduction in Pre-Calculus Courses Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19526

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