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Impact of Initiatives for Helping First Year Students Start on Track in Mathematics Sequence

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division - Visualization and Mathematics

Tagged Divisions

First-Year Programs and Mathematics

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30602

Download Count

15

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Paper Authors

biography

Ashish Borgaonkar New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Dr. Ashish Borgaonkar works as Asst. Dean in the Office of the Dean, Newark College of Engineering, NJIT, Newark, NJ. He has taught several engineering courses primarily in the first year engineering, civil engineering, and mechanical engineering departments and won multiple awards for excellence in instruction. He also has worked on several programs and initiatives to help students bridge the gap between high school and college as well as preparing students for the rigors of mathematics. His research interests include engineering education, excellence in instruction, water and wastewater treatment, civil engineering infrastructure, and transportation engineering.

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biography

Jaskirat Sodhi New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Dr. Jaskirat Sodhi is a University Lecturer in the department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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Moshe Kam P.E. New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Moshe Kam serves at present as Dean of the Newark College of Engineering at the New Jersey Institute
of Technology (NJIT). Earlier he served as the Robert Quinn Professor and Department Head of Electrical
and Computer Engineering at Drexel University. His education is in Electrical Engineering (B.S., Tel Aviv
University (1976); M.S.(1985) and Ph.D. (1987), Drexel University). Kam's professional interests are in
detection and estimation, multi-sensor systems, data and decision fusion, robotics, and engineering
education. He served as President and CEO of IEEE, and on the Boards of Directors of IEEE (2003-2007,
2010-2012)and ABET (2009-2014). During his tenure as IEEE's Vice President for Educational Activities
(2005-2007) IEEE launched tryengineering.org and expanded greatly its pre-university engineering
programs, including EPICS-in-IEEE. Kam is a Fellow of IEEE "for contributions to the theory of decision
fusion and distributed detection." He received the IEEE Third Millennium Medal and the C. Holmes
MacDonald Award "for the Outstanding Young Electrical Engineering Educator."

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Edwin Hou New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Dr. Edwin Hou is a professor in the Helen and John C. Hartmann Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology. His research interests include embedded systems, autonomous vehicles, nonlinear optimization, and engineering education.

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Abstract

This is an evidence-based practice paper. New Jersey Institute of Technology, located in Newark, NJ, administers mathematics placement test to all incoming first time full-time first year students, except those with proof of advanced placement or transfer credits for calculus courses. Performance on this placement test determines students’ starting point in the calculus sequence. Students will either be placed in Calculus-I, which is the preferred scenario, or one of the two pre-calculus courses. Students that are placed in pre-calculus courses start 1-2 courses behind as compared to those placed in Calculus-I. In addition, performance in the mathematics placement test also drives placement in physics and chemistry. All this put together means that students that do not do well on the mathematics placement test are looking at 1-2 added semester(s) to their graduation, at the least. As a common practice across most colleges and universities in the United States, mathematics and science courses serve as pre-requisites or co-requisites to most core engineering courses. This makes things even more difficult for some students placed in pre-calculus courses who may run out of course options if they do not make quick progress in their mathematics sequence. Understandably, this not only hurts students’ motivation to continue but also their retention and graduation rates. Acknowledging the seriousness of this issue, our college started a series of programs and initiatives to help students start on track in mathematics sequence and/or to make quick progress in it. This paper presents an overview of three main initiatives: strong student outreach, engineering mathematics summer boot camp and practice placement tests with placement calculator to determine mathematics placement based on placement test scores. Although the practice placement test and placement calculator initiatives were first implemented only in 2017, the engineering mathematics summer boot camp has been continuously offered since summer of 2015. This paper presents data collected on student performance and through various surveys. It also presents results of data analysis and short-term and long-term impact of these initiatives.

Borgaonkar, A., & Sodhi, J., & Kam, M., & Hou, E. (2018, June), Impact of Initiatives for Helping First Year Students Start on Track in Mathematics Sequence Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30602

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