June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.538.1 - 15.538.10
EVALUATION OF FACTORS AFFECTING THE SUCCESS OF IMPROVING MATH COURSE PLACEMENT FOR INCOMING FRESHMEN IN A SUMMER BRIDGE PROGRAM
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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