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High School ACT Math Scores: Why and How Do We Use Them?

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2017 FYEE Conference


Daytona Beach, Florida

Publication Date

August 6, 2017

Start Date

August 6, 2017

End Date

August 8, 2017

Conference Session

Student Success & Development - Focus on Mathematics

Tagged Topics

Diversity and FYEE Division - Paper Submission

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Sungwon Steven Kim Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Dr. Sungwon S. Kim joined the Mechanical Engineering faculty at MSU Mankato in January of 2011. He received his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University (2008), working in the area of synthesizing carbon nanotubes, his M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), working in the area of designing and analyzing double spiral heat exchangers, and his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Korea University (2000).

Before joining MSU Mankato, Dr. Kim was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering at Purdue University, teaching courses in the thermal fluid sciences, and conducting research in nanotechnology. His research expertise and interests lie in the controlled synthesis of CNTs for thermal and biological applications. While at Purdue, he was actively involved in research sponsored by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in the development of carbon nanotube (CNT) enhanced wicks for vapor chambers (Thermal Ground Plane Program), and in enhancement of thermal interfaces using CNTs (Nano Thermal Interface Program).

Currently, his research activities are concentrated in the area of engineering education, with the purpose of promoting interest in engineering and fostering the next generation of engineers.

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This paper summarizes the continued study of trying to correlate ACT Math scores of students enrolled in a university freshman level “Introduction to Engineering” course and their level of success. Voluntary survey data collected initially during Fall semester 2015 was compared with results of the same survey conducted during Fall semester 2016. The survey, which consisted of questions asking students their anticipated grade in the course, their anticipated GPA in the semester, the current math course that they were registered for, the math course that they were planning to register for in the following semester, and their high school ACT Math score. Preliminary results for the survey conducted during Fall semester 2015 suggested that students making good progress towards their engineering degree had ACT Math scores of 28 and above. Results from the follow up survey conducted during Fall semester 2016 largely reinforces the results from the previous year.

In addition to ACT Math score results being used for university admissions and math course placement cutoffs, the possibility of using ACT Math score to identify a group of “marginally prepared” students for engineering study is explored. The question of how we can provide academic and advising support to the group of students who are identified to be “marginally prepared” is raised and discussed. Effective strategies of using ACT Math scores to identify this group of “marginally prepared” students so that their probability of success in the freshman and sophomore year calculus and calculus based physics courses are suggested.

Kim, S. S. (2017, August), High School ACT Math Scores: Why and How Do We Use Them? Paper presented at 2017 FYEE Conference, Daytona Beach, Florida.

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