New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Minorities in Engineering and Women in Engineering
Diversity and ASEE Diversity Committee
This study analyzed correlations by gender between student attitudes toward supplemental instruction (SI) for a freshman chemistry course for engineering students and their grades both at the end of the course and throughout their subsequent course of study. General Chemistry for Engineers is a required course for all students in the engineering program at ____ University and is taken during a student’s first semester at the university. SI for the course included structured group review sessions, one-on-one peer tutoring, and office hours held by teaching staff.
Previous research has found that there are statistically significant correlations between the use of SI and improved term and overall GPAs while in college.  Further, evidence suggests that the way students start their college career often indicates how they will finish.  At ____ University, General Chemistry for Engineers is the first challenging course a student entering the engineering program takes that serves as model for subsequent coursework in the full engineering curriculum. Among engineering students, where historically males are the majority, females often have been seen as the primary seekers of SI. Retaining female students in engineering and enabling their overall academic success has been a subject of great importance for engineering programs.
The first portion of this study focused on the grade progression of the students enrolled in the freshman chemistry course from Fall 2007-2012. Correlations were examined among GPA at graduation, GPA after four semesters in college, and course grade for a subpopulation representing 15.9% (409 out of 2572) of the students enrolled in the course during the study time period who attended at least one session of a weekly group review led by upper-level female tutors. Positive correlations were observed among student grades in the course and GPA after four semesters and at graduation, regardless of gender. Females, however, were more likely to receive higher grades in freshman chemistry and have higher subsequent GPAs.
Correlations among gender, attitudes towards SI, and academic success then were assessed based on data for surveys administered at the start and end of the freshman chemistry course for 54.3% (497 out of 916) of the students participating in the course during the latter part of the study period in the Fall 2011 and 2012 semesters. This study found that students finding SI useful were more likely to perceive that a rigorous required freshman chemistry course was easier to master than anticipated. Further, the frequent use of SI in the course was predictive of long-term academic success: students regularly attending a structured peer tutoring session as a form of SI were more likely to have a higher GPA at graduation than their peers who were infrequent attendees, regardless of gender. Finally, females, when offered either a social or one-on-one form of SI, were more likely to find at least one these resources helpful, much more likely to attend structured reviews led by females who could act as role models, and rate one-on-one tutoring more helpful than their male peers.
Shapiro, R. L., & Wisniewski, E. O., & Kaeli, E., & Cole, T. B., & DiMilla, P. A., & Reisberg, R. (2016, June), Role of Gender and Use of Supplemental Instruction in a Required Freshman Chemistry Course by Engineering Students on their Course Grades and Subsequent Academic Success Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26123
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