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Integrated Engineering Math Based Summer Bridge Program For Student Retention

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Enhancing K-12 Mathematics Education with Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.907.1 - 12.907.16



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Paper Authors


Sandra Wood University of Alabama

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Celina Bochis is a graduate student at The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa working on her PhD degree in Environmental Engineering with minors in Water Resources and Statistics. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography (minor in Hydrology) from the "Babes-Bolyai" University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania in 2001. She is currently working as student program coordinator for Engineering Math Advancement Program combining administrative and teaching duties. Her research interests include the magnitude of impervious surfaces in urban watersheds, the distribution of the contaminants produced by different land uses, and heavy metals in stormwater.

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Steven Hsia University of Alabama

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Steven Hsia is a graduate student at the University of Alabama working on his Alternative Certification for a Master's Degree in Secondary Education Mathematics. He is currently working with the Environmental Institute, Engineering-Math Advancement Program, and the College of Engineering Freshman Engineering Programs. He earned two Bachelor of Science degrees in Mathematics (Statistical track) and Computer Science in 1999 at the University of Alabama. He worked 5 1/2 years as a Software Engineer for Harris Corporation in Melbourne, FL before returning the University of Alabama to continue his education.

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Pauline Johnson University of Alabama

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Dr. Pauline Johnson is an associate professor in the Department of Civil,
Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alabama.
She holds a PhD from Queens University Belfast, a teaching Credential
from St Andrews College Scotland and a first class honors engineering
degree from Salford University England. Her research specialty is the
fate and capture of metals by sorption in water and wastewater systems.
She teaches courses in general environmental engineering, hazardous
waste management and water and wastewater processes and design. She was
awarded departmental Professor of the Year Award in 2006. Dr Johnson is
Co-PI on the NSF-EMAP project described in this paper and also
co-founder and faculty adviser of the University of Alabama Chapter of
Engineers without Borders.

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Karen Boykin University of Alabama

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Larry Bowen University of Alabama

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Kevin Whitaker University of Alabama

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Integrated Engineering Math-Based Summer Bridge Program for Student Retention

Abstract The University of Alabama (UA) student retention statistics revealed that less than 33% of incoming engineering freshmen were retained through graduation. Furthermore, low performance in calculus was also found to impact upper-level engineering classes. This graduation rate is 19 points lower than the national average of 52% for similar programs [6]. Analyses indicate that the primary reason for low retention is an inability of incoming freshmen to perform well in calculus classes. At UA on average 30% of freshmen place into calculus and therefore are ready to follow the recommended program of study for engineering students, 10% of freshmen place into remedial math and the remaining 60% are the target group for our program. This group represents the students who will enroll in pre-calculus algebra or trigonometry and who are typically 1-3 semesters behind the recommended program of study for freshmen engineering students. To address this retention problem the UA College of Engineering developed a five-week summer residence class called the Engineering Math Advancement Program (E-MAP). This National Science Foundation (NSF) funded program prepares incoming freshmen for calculus in their freshman year. The program aims to increase retention by preparing students to 1) do well in calculus and 2) get excited about engineering. In addition to intensive math instruction, the program includes hands-on “Living-Lab” experiences, field trips and a community service project led by professional engineers.

The program is evaluated annually by a team of K-12 math and science teachers lead by a professional evaluator from out of state. Evaluators spend three days on campus each year during the five week program session. They review and evaluate the program and offer guidance for improvements. They have been generally impressed with the program design and implementation to date. Changes made in response to evaluations are mainly in the areas of student recruitment, grading criteria, study skills, and program cohesiveness. Although these changes resulted in a fewer percentage of participants being allowed to proceed to Calculus I, the second year showed overall improvement in student deliverables and grades over the first year. The upcoming year-three will involve more interactive problem solving, a better defined minority program, a standardized interwoven societal benefit project, and continued work to identify methods to compare the E-MAP control group.

One of the program goals is to determine the best set of teaching methods and materials providing greatest impact on performance, ultimately measured through increased graduation rates, in the limited amount of time available for instruction. Program assessment involves both qualitative and quantitative data involving standardized tests and stakeholder evaluations. Standardized tests include Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI), Math Science Inventory and Meyer-Briggs in conjunction with the Pre- and Post- Math Placement Tests. Results of the first two years of the program indicate that E-MAP has helped a majority of participating students in engineering-math preparedness. Math Placement Test data from both years show that 84% of E-MAP participants skipped at least one math course and 41% 2-3 courses. Analysis confirms results are statistically significant and provide very strong evidence

Wood, S., & Hsia, S., & Johnson, P., & Boykin, K., & Bowen, L., & Whitaker, K. (2007, June), Integrated Engineering Math Based Summer Bridge Program For Student Retention Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2089

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015