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Measuring the Effectiveness of an Intensive Math Preparation Program to Enhance the Success of Underrepresented Students in Engineering

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Addressing Diversity Issues in Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

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Paper Authors


Anna Marbella Camacho Cañada College

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As Project Director for a $5.9 million Hispanic-Serving Institution-STEM Grant (CalSTEP), Anna collaboratively spearheaded the creation of The STEM Center, which promotes STEM education through programs, activities, academic/support services, and opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and the greater community. Anna Camacho joined Cañada College in 2012 in the capacity of Assistant Project Director of Hispanic-Serving Institution-STEM Grant (CalSTEP). In this position, Anna manages all financial aspects of the grant’s $1.1 million yearly budget. In addition to handling fiscal matters, Anna also collaborates in program implementation & development and new grant proposals. Prior to joining Cañada College, Anna was a Program Officer at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund where she implemented programs aimed at increasing college going knowledge to underrepresented families in multiple states .

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Denise Hum Cañada College

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Denise Hum is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at Cañada College in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her M.S. in statistics at California State University, East Bay. Her academic interests include accelerated math pathways, contextualized learning, Reading Apprenticeship, and increasing the number of women and underrepresented groups in STEM.

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In order to meet the current and future demands for engineers needed to retain and increase the economic competitiveness and innovation capacity of the United States, there is a growing need to engage students from traditionally underrepresented groups in engineering. At XXXX XXXX, a federally designated Hispanic-serving community college in XXXXXXX, a large number of students from traditionally underrepresented minority groups enter with high levels of interest in engineering. However, their success and completion rates have been low due primarily to low levels of preparation for college-level work, especially in math. To address this major barrier to student success, XXXXXX developed Math Jam as a one-week intensive math placement test review program. Since its development in 2009, Math Jam has served over 2000 students, and the demand continues to grow such that the program is now offered in six separate sessions each year – both day and evening sessions during three one-week periods immediately preceding the fall, spring, and summer sessions. It has expanded from a program designed to help students review for the placement test to a program where returning students can also prepare for their next math class. For the last six years of program implementation, underrepresented minority students (Hispanic, African American, and Pacific islanders, and Native Americans) have participated in Math Jam at a higher rate than other students. This paper explores the similarities and differences in the program outcomes for minority and non-minority students. Comparisons will be based on student retention and success rates in subsequent math courses using the propensity scoring method, pre- and post-program math self-efficacy survey, and surveys that assess satisfaction with the program and student perception and knowledge of resources and skills needed for academic success.

Camacho, A. M., & Hum, D. (2016, June), Measuring the Effectiveness of an Intensive Math Preparation Program to Enhance the Success of Underrepresented Students in Engineering Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25700

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