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The Influence of Preconceptions, Experience, and Gender on Use of Supplemental Instruction and Academic Success in a Freshman Chemistry Course for Engineers

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--31116

Permanent URL

https://www.jee.org/31116

Download Count

47

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Paper Authors

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Tyler Byrne Cole Northeastern University

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Tyler Cole is a fifth year undergraduate student completing a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.S. in Engineering Management at Northeastern University. He has been involved in the Connections Chemistry Review program and first year engineering tutoring for four years. Tyler has held a co-op position at Genzyme, Amgen, and McKinsey and Company.

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Emma Kaeli Northeastern University

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Emma Kaeli is a fifth-year undergraduate student at Northeastern University, majoring in chemical engineering and pursuing minors in mathematics and material science and engineering. Outside of class, Kaeli works as a chemistry tutor and class grader, and she participates in undergraduate research in a materials science laboratory on campus. She also has held co-op positions with Rogers Corporation's Innovation Center, the National Renewable Energy Lab, and Lockheed Martin Energy Storage.

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Bradley Joseph Priem Northeastern University

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Bradley Priem is a third year undergraduate student at Northeastern University, majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in biochemical engineering. He has been involved in the Connections Chemistry Review program for two years. He has also held an undergraduate research position in a biomaterials laboratory on campus.

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Caroline Ghio Northeastern University

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Caroline is a second-year undergraduate student at Northeastern University, majoring in chemical engineering. She has been involved in the Connections Chemistry Review program for one year. She also participates in undergraduate research in a neuroengineering laboratory on campus and is active in the university's branch of Society of Women Engineers.

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Paul A. DiMilla Northeastern University

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Paul A. DiMilla is an Affiliate Associate Teaching Professor in Chemistry & Chemical Biology and Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University. During his academic career at Carnegie Mellon University, Boston University, Olin College, and Northeastern University 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 the 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

The purpose of this study was to analyze relationships among students’ use of supplemental instruction (SI)—such as tutoring, office hours and group study—in a first-year engineering course, factors that may predispose a student to use such support, and the impact of SI on both grade within the course and GPA after three semesters. Factors considered included a student’s self-reported gender, their previous experience with resources for SI, their intended major, and their perception of the importance of the course for their engineering degree. Based on previous demonstration of the association between use of SI in courses taken during a student’s first semester in college and long-term academic success, identifying incoming student populations less likely to seek SI resources could be impactful in improving long-term student academic success and retention, particularly of females, in undergraduate engineering programs.

The population considered in this study consisted of students enrolled in the General Chemistry for Engineers course for freshmen during the fall 2016 semester at Northeastern University. Students were surveyed to obtain information on their background and attitudes, to report their experiences with SI prior to entering college, and to evaluate their experiences with SI at the end of the semester. The surveyed population was comprised of 375 students, of which 37% were female. Data for male and female subpopulations were analyzed and compared in order to determine what factors influenced their use of resources for SI during this course and the impact of this use on course grades and GPA after three semesters.

It was found that whether or not a student used SI during their first semester in college had a greater impact on long-term academic success for women than for men, with females who used SI for freshman chemistry tending to have higher GPAs after three semesters than their male counterparts. Prior use of SI in high school was predictive of whether a student used SI during their entering semester. The importance a student placed on freshman chemistry also correlated with the student's use of SI in the course. Students who were undecided in their engineering major upon entering college tended to have higher grades in freshman chemistry and GPAs after three semesters if they perceived chemistry was important for their engineering degree. These findings suggest greater encouragement of the use of SI in gateway science classes by females and students undecided in their engineering major in particular can impact their academic success.

Cole, T. B., & Kaeli, E., & Priem, B. J., & Ghio, C., & DiMilla, P. A., & Reisberg, R. (2018, June), The Influence of Preconceptions, Experience, and Gender on Use of Supplemental Instruction and Academic Success in a Freshman Chemistry Course for Engineers Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31116

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