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Evaluation Of Factors Affecting The Success Of Improving Math Course Placement For Incoming Freshmen In A Summer Bridge Program

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.538.1 - 15.538.10



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Paper Authors


John Reisel University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

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John R. Reisel is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM.) He serves as Associate Director of the Center for Alternative Fuels, and co-Director of the Energy Conversion
Efficiency Lab. His research efforts focus on combustion and energy utilization. Dr. Reisel was a 2005 recipient of the UWM Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, the 2000
UWM-College of Engineering and Applied Science Outstanding Teaching Award, and a 1998
recipient of the SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award. Dr. Reisel is a member of ASEE,
ASME, the Combustion Institute, and SAE. Dr. Reisel received his B.M.E. degree from
Villanova University in 1989, his M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University
in 1991, and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 1994.

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Marissa Jablonski University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee


Hossein Hosseini University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

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Hoessein Hosseini has received his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Iowa in 1982. He has been with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee since 1983. Currently he is the Chairman of the Computer Science Program. Dr. Hosseini’s expertise is in the areas of Computer Networks, Computer Architecture, Fault-Tolerance, Distributed and Parallel Computing. He is the founder and Co-Director of Computer Networks Laboratory at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. Hosseini has published over 120 papers in reviewed journals and conference proceedings, has received funding from NSF and industry, has graduated nine PhD and over 60 MS students.

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Ethan Munson University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

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Ethan V. Munson is an Associate Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he is also the Director of the Multimedia Software Laboratory. He received the M.S. (1989) and Ph.D. (1994) in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Munson is a recipient of an NSF CAREER award, as well as four NSF educational grants, and a variety of industrial funding. He is a Senior Member of ACM and a member of the Brazilian Computer Society (SBC). He has been Chair of ACM SIGWEB since 2006.

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A summer bridge program for incoming engineering and computer science freshmen has been used at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 2007-09. The primary purpose of this program has been to improve the mathematics course placement for incoming students who initially place into a course below Calculus I on our math placement examination. The students retake the math place examination after completing the bridge program to determine if they then place into a higher-level mathematics course. If the students improve their math placement, the program is considered successful for that student.

The math portion of the bridge program centers on using the ALEKS software package for targeted, self-guided learning. In the 2007 and 2008 versions of the program, both an on-line version and an on-campus version with additional instruction were offered. In 2009, the program was exclusively in an on-campus format, and also featured a required residential component and additional engineering activities for the students. From the results of these three programs, we are able to evaluate the success of the program in its different formats, and are able to judge the utility of the enhancements that have been added to the program.

In addition, data has been collected and analyzed regarding the impact of other factors on the program’s success. The factors include student preparation before the beginning of the program (as measured by math ACT scores) and the amount of time the student spent working on the material during the program. Not surprisingly, better math preparation and the amount of time spent on the program are good indicators of success. Furthermore, the on campus version of the program is more effective than the on-line version.


In the United States today, there is great interest in the education and graduation of more students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.1,2 There are two primary tasks that are needed for this goal to be accomplished. First, more students need to be attracted to pursue college-level studies in the STEM fields. Second, once those students are attracted to a STEM field, the colleges and universities must provide an attractive, nurturing environment designed to allow a wide range of students to succeed, while still providing a rigorous education.

The College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee (UWM) has generally been able to attract as many students into its engineering and computer science programs as for whom it can provide quality educations. But the graduation rates have been lower than desired. While the number fluctuates a bit each year, based on incoming classes from 2003-2005, the graduation rate of incoming freshmen in CEAS is about 35%. Recognizing that this is an undesirably low graduation rate in that it does not advance

Reisel, J., & Jablonski, M., & Hosseini, H., & Munson, E. (2010, June), Evaluation Of Factors Affecting The Success Of Improving Math Course Placement For Incoming Freshmen In A Summer Bridge Program Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15790

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