June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
12.907.1 - 12.907.16
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 . 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. https://peer.asee.org/2089
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