New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Active learning sessions such as those in the Supplemental Instruction model are often reported as successful when incorporated into high DFW, high enrollment courses. Research conducted by The U.S. Department of Education, Redish, Longfellow, and many others have reported significant benefits to students enrolled in courses that incorporate active learning in class and/or in after class sessions. The initial analysis of the impact of Supplemental Instruction on students in the College of Engineering at XX was consistent with these previous findings. However, some researchers like Dawson and McCarthy recognized some sobering truths–many analyses regarding Supplemental Instruction were incomplete and made weak conclusions. The research presented herein investigated two different modes of analysis to determine the effectiveness of Supplemental Instruction (or similar models), taking advantage of the large dataset at XX and attempting to remove the possibility of student self-selection bias. The first mode of analysis used standardized test scores to create a model to predict student success in certain courses and then looked to see if SI attendance affected the modeled prediction. When examining these variables independently, students who regularly attend SI sessions as well as students with higher ACT scores are more likely to pass a given course. However, it was found that ACT and SI session attendance were inversely correlated with each other, thus dispelling the misconception that only “good students” go to SI sessions. The second analysis was conducted in attempt to directly answer Dawson’s comment that SI analyses often choose unsubstantiated cutoffs to define regular attendance; the number of SI sessions a student needs to attend in order to be considered a “regular attendee” varies greatly in the literature and can be defined to meet a researcher’s preconceived notions of success. We created percent attendance bins in order to better unify the dataset, because some courses have more SI sessions than others. The percent attendance was then compared to both passing rates and to course GPA with linearity assumed and no cutoff created. It was found that the trend was strongly linear–students continually improve their passing rates and course GPA’s as SI session attendance percentage increases. In this case, any choice of a session attendance cutoff supports previous conclusions of increased course performance.
Wilson, C. A., & Waggenspack, W. N., & Steele, A., & Gegenheimer, J. B. (2016, June), The Unsubstantiated Cutoff: Deeper Analysis of Supplemental Instruction Sessions on Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27025
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