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Small-Scale and Large-Scale Interventions to Improve Texas Students' College Readiness

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Mathematics Division Technical Session 4

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Virgil U. Pierce University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley

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Dr. Virgil Pierce is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. His research is in mathematical and statistical physics, and involves the intersection of techniques from nonlinear waves, combinatorics, and random matrices. He works extensively on educational issues in high school and higher education, including the development of a College Prep Math course being used in public high schools in Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy, and Starr Counties in Texas, and he has worked with a variety of issues surrounding entry level mathematics and science at two-year and four-year schools in Texas.

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Javier Angel Kypuros University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley

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Javier Kypuros received a B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University in 1996. He later received an M.S.E. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 1998 and 2001 from The University of Texas at Austin. Javier began his career at The University of Texas at El Paso in 2001 and later joined the faculty at The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) in 2002. He is currently a Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. He was awarded Faculty Excellence Awards by the College of Engineering and Computer Science at UTPA for teaching in 2011 and service in 2012 and was recognized by the University of Texas System with a Regentss Outstanding Teaching Award in 2014. His research interests include Dynamic Systems and Controls, Bond Graphs, and Vehicle Systems.

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Shirley J. Mills University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley

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Shirley J. Mills, Ph.D. graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in December 2005. She moved to Edinburg, Texas, to work at the University of Texas Pan American (UTPA) in 2007 and transitioned to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2015. She is a member of the Department of Organization and School Leadership and earned tenure and the rank of associate professor in 2012. In 2014 she was assigned to be the Interim Director of College Readiness Initiatives under the Vice President of Student Academic Success where she works with school districts, community colleges, Region One, and UTRGV officials to create a seamless transition for students moving from high school to higher education.

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We are conducting two interventions aimed at improving entering students’ college readiness and mathematics placement. The small-scale intervention is aimed at working with students on the university campus. Students who are targeted have high school course work indicating that they have experience in Calculus or Pre-Calculus courses, but whose placement tests have not indicated they are ready for Calculus. At our institution this is a significant number of students and the goal of the project is to develop methods to address and accelerate students in this category. The course design, to take advantage of the students’ prior experience, emphasizes practice and mastery using a commercial software [1]. The large-scale intervention is a high school course developed by [Author1] for local high schools. Students who have completed their high school mathematics course work but who have not achieved the state’s college readiness standard [2] are targeted. The students in the course have had experience in their high school classes in all of the concepts in the state standard, but have not had the chance to practice and master the material. The course we have developed emphasizes practice and mastery like the small-scale one, but participating school districts could not afford the commercial software. Thus we have built a course around the WebWork software [3] that is available through a free and open license.

[1] Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces, , McGraw Hill. [2] [State] College and Career Readiness Standard and Assessment [3] WebWork Homework Software, , Mathematical Association of America.

Pierce, V. U., & Kypuros, J. A., & Mills, S. J. (2016, June), Small-Scale and Large-Scale Interventions to Improve Texas Students' College Readiness Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27344

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