July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
We are engaged in a multi-year project to design and pilot a cohort-based calculus sequence to build self-efficacy and scaffold academic success among civil engineering students. As observed across engineering disciplines and institutions, calculus courses are significant barriers to student persistence. Some researchers have proposed that student math performance is predicted by their beliefs about their math skills (i.e., their math self-efficacy) more so than even their past record of achievement. Among our population of civil engineering students, we have found that students who are retained through sophomore year reported higher math self-efficacy during their first semester of college than those who eventually left civil engineering. During our first cohort’s freshmen year, they completed the Excellence in Civil Engineering Leadership (ExCEL) Calculus Sequence, which includes formal Calculus I and II instruction and support programs aligned with Bandura’s self-efficacy framework. Based on course grades, GPAs, and focus groups, we found that the early calculus courses were indeed mastery experiences that improved students’ math self-efficacy.
In this paper, we will explore changes in self-efficacy among ExCEL students as they participate in a comprehensive training program to mentor at risk-peers. While ExCEL students have entered a mainstream Calculus III course, they are helping to administer a version of the ExCEL Calculus I course to a group of students who are significantly behind in their programs because they received a D, F, or W in more than one math course. ExCEL students are attending the Calculus I course regularly and holding three organized supplemental instruction sessions per week. To support the ExCEL students, a learning strategist is meeting with them weekly to guide them on the fundamentals of effective teaching. Also, ExCEL students are adapting and leading seminars for the at-risk students to connect how calculus concepts are used in civil engineering. We are currently collecting data via published Math and Leadership Self-Efficacy scales to gage the impact of the mentoring experience on our ExCEL students. In addition, ExCEL students will participate in a focus group at the end of the semester to provide feedback on the experience. Based on the results, we will make recommendations for expanding the ExCEL Calculus Sequence.
Watson, M. K., & Hornor, T., & Davis, W. J., & Ghanat, S. T. (2021, July), Impacts of Mentoring on Math and Leadership Self-Efficacy Among Civil Engineering Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37293
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