June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Women in Engineering
26.1547.1 - 26.1547.19
The Impact of Supplemental Instruction on the Performance of Male and Female Engineers in a Freshmen Chemistry CourseAbstractThis study investigates the statistical connection between the use of supplemental instruction (SI)by engineering students and their performance in a required first year general chemistry course.SI includes group and one-on-one peer tutoring, instructor and teaching assistant office hours andreview sessions, and small study groups. Previous research shows participation in SI correlateswith higher course grades, more confidence in course material, greater material retention, higheroverall GPA, and greater student retention1 and graduation rates, all regardless of studentethnicity or level of prior academic achievement. Engaging students in SI, however, has been apersistent challenge. For example, a previous study found only 40% of students enrolled inhistorically difficult classes (including general chemistry) took advantage of the supplementalinstruction provided. This study, however, found participants in SI were more likely to have afinal course grade of B or better and less likely to withdraw from the class.2Last year we conducted a study comparing the performance of students who did and did not useavailable forms of SI and correlated performance outcomes with factors deterring students fromusing the offered forms of SI. Our focus this year is to identify statistically significant trends inour data from previous years as well as this year’s class and assess the roles of student,instructor, and tutor gender, and student attitudes towards and level of participation in SI on theimpact and efficacy of SI for freshmen enrolled in the required general chemistry course.To understand a student’s choice to participate in SI and to determine correlations with courseassessments and grades, students enrolled in a required general chemistry course were surveyedat the beginning and end of the semester. This year 528 students participated in the pre-survey, aresponse rate of 87%. The gender distribution was 28% females, which is representative of thedistribution of first year students in the College of Engineering at _______ University. Ourprevious studies suggest female students had a higher “trigger point” (i.e., grade at which theydecided to seek out extra help) than males upon entering college. We identified that studentsfound convenience factors (time, frequency, and location) more important when deciding to seekSI than incentive factors (food or friends attending). Based on statistical analysis of this year’spre-survey data, these hypotheses remain robust, with an increased confidence level in thesehypotheses.Our current study builds on our previous studies in several ways. Enrollment has increased thisyear, there is an additional instructor, a more even balance in teaching assistant gender, and thegroup peer tutors now include a male upperclassman in addition to two females. This study seeksto expand upon previous studies by investigating how higher enrollment and greater instructorand tutor heterogeneity affect correlations among students’ use of SI and their performance andreported confidence level in the course. Using rigorous statistical methods, our ultimate goal is touse this study focused on a general chemistry class as a model for identifying how to improve theengagement and efficacy of SI for freshmen engineering students.References1. Malm, Joakim, Leif Bryngfors, and Lise-Lotte Mörner. "Supplemental Instruction For Improving First Year Results in Engineering Studies." Studies in Higher Education 37.6 (2012): 655-66.2. Arendale, David. “Supplemental Instruction (SI): Review of the Research Concerning the Effectiveness of SI from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Other Institutions from across the United States.” Proceedings of the 17th and 18th Annual Institutes for Learning Assistance Professionals: 1996 and 1997 (1997): 1-25.
Wisniewski, E. O., & Shapiro, R. L., & Kaeli, E., & Coletti, K. B., & DiMilla, P. A., & Reisberg, R. (2015, June), The Impact of Supplemental Instruction on the Performance of Male and Female Engineers in a Freshman Chemistry Course Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24884
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