June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.878.1 - 22.878.10
Initial Evaluation of the Impact of Math Study Groups on First-Year Student Course SuccessAbstractAs part of an NSF-funded STEP project, first-year students in engineering and computerscience were assigned to small study groups based upon their math course. The groupswere facilitated by upper-level undergraduate students, and met weekly through the Falland Spring semesters of the 2009-10 academic year. While attendance was stronglyencouraged, attendance at the study group sessions was not required. In the Fall 2009semester, study groups were organized around the Intermediate Algebra course, theCollege Algebra and Trigonometry courses, and the first Calculus course. In the Spring2010 semester, study groups were added for higher-level Calculus and DifferentialEquations courses. During the study groups, students would work on assigned homeworkproblem as well as additional problems provided by the facilitators. The students workedtogether to solve the problems, with guidance and some tutoring provided by thefacilitators.In the Fall 2009 semester, attendance in the study groups was approximately 30%. Thisdropped to 15% in the Spring 2010, which we attribute to students forming their ownstudy groups as well as increased realization among the students that there was noobvious consequence to not attending the groups. Our initial observations of the impactof the study groups include the following: (1) there was a subset of students who werelikely to succeed in the course without attending any study group; (2) for the remainderof the students, the students’ grades were often higher based upon attending more studygroup sessions; and (3) the study groups for the College Algebra and Trigonometrycourses had the largest impact on students’ performance, particularly in the Fall 2009semester. The results indicate that study groups can be a successful method forimproving first-year student learning of math concepts. In turn, this should improve theretention and eventual graduation of the students.In this paper, the study groups are described in greater detail, and the results of the studygroups’ impact on student grades are presented. Based on what was learned in the 2009-10 year, some modifications to the study group format were made to increase theirimpact. These changes are described in the paper as well.
Jablonski, M., & Reisel, J. R., & Hosseini, H., & Munson, E. V., & Rineck, L. (2011, June), Initial Evaluation of the Impact of Math Study Groups on First-Year Student Course Success Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18969
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