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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

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session - Retention Programs for Diverse Students

Tagged Divisions

Minorities in Engineering and Women in Engineering

Tagged Topics

Diversity and ASEE Diversity Committee

Page Count

15

DOI

10.18260/p.26123

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/26123

Download Count

179

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Paper Authors

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Rachel Lauren Shapiro Northeastern University

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Rachel Shapiro is a fourth year undergraduate student studying chemical engineering at Northeastern University. She has been involved in the Connections Chemistry Review program for the past 3 years. Rachel works in a chemical engineering lab on campus, has held a co-op position at Davol, Inc., has finished her second co-op with Entrega Biosciences, and will complete her third co-op with McKinsey & Company.

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Emily Olina Wisniewski Johns Hopkins University

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Emily is a firsr year PhD student in chemical and biomolecular engineering at Johns Hopkins University. She earned her B.S. in chemical engineering with a minor in biochemical engineering from Northeastern University in 2015. While at Northeastern, she was a chemistry tutor for freshman engineering students for three years.

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Emma Kaeli Northeastern University

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Emma Kaeli is a third-year undergraduate student at Northeastern University, majoring in chemical engineering and pursuing minors in mathematics and materials science and engineering. Outside of class, Kaeli works as a chemistry tutor, and she participates in undergraduate research in a materials science laboratory on campus. She also has held an engineering co-op position with Rogers Corporation's Innovation Center, and will pursue her second position with the DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory this coming spring (2016).

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Tyler Byrne Cole Northeastern University

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Tyler Cole is a third year undergraduate student studying chemical engineering at Northeastern University. He has been involved in the Connections Chemistry Review program and first year engineering tutoring for two years. Tyler has held a co-op position at Genzyme, and is currently completing his second co-op with Amgen.

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Paul A. DiMilla Northeastern University

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Paul A. DiMilla is an Associate Teaching Professor in Chemistry & Chemical Biology and Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University. During his academic career at Carnegie Mellon University, Boston University, and Olin College he has been the recipient of the first Whitaker Young Investigator Award from the BMES, a Searle Scholar Award, and an Early Career Development Award from the NSF as well as a three-time recipient of the Omega Chi Epsilon Outstanding Faculty Award from the Northeastern Student Affiliate of AIChE. He also has led industrial R&D teams at Organogenesis Inc. and Polymerix Corporation developing tissue-engineered medical products and drug- generating biodegradable polymers, respectively, and has co-founded Automated Cell, Inc. In addition to being an inventor on 11 issued US patents, he has published the textbook General Chemistry for Engineers with Cognella Academic Publishing.

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Rachelle Reisberg Northeastern University

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Rachelle Reisberg is Assistant Dean for Engineering Enrollment and Retention as well as Director of Women in Engineering at Northeastern University. Prior to joining Northeastern University, Rachelle held a wide range of management positions in IBM, Hanover Insurance, and was the President of a high tech start-up company.

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Abstract

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. [1] Further, evidence suggests that the way students start their college career often indicates how they will finish. [2] 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

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: © 2016 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