June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Women in Engineering
23.1281.1 - 23.1281.17
Understanding the Factors Influencing Student Participation in Supplemental Instruction in Freshman ChemistryAbstractThis study examines the factors that are most important from the perspective of a first yearengineering student in utilizing supplemental instruction in a required introductory course ingeneral chemistry. Prior studies have indicated a strong correlation between success in a courseand utilization of supplemental instruction, especially for students under-represented inengineering. Supplemental instruction includes peer tutoring, instructor office hours, reviewsessions, study groups, and other programs to assist students outside of the classroom. Based onthe demonstrated success of supplemental instruction programs developed for women inengineering, the College of Engineering at ___________ University expanded the programs toall engineering freshmen (male and female). Review sessions for a course in general chemistryfor engineers led by upper-class women tutors studying chemical engineering were particularlysuccessful. Tutors attended instructors’ chemistry lectures and served as role models to supportand encourage freshmen in this challenging first year course. Although the program has been runsuccessfully for a number of years, with typically 60% of female engineering freshmen enrolledin chemistry attending, the team of tutors, course coordinator, and program advisors sought toincrease student participation. Our current research is directed towards understanding whatcauses students to utilize supplemental instruction.To understand the factors influencing student participation in supplemental instruction, first yearengineering students in the Fall 2012 offering of General Chemistry for Engineers were asked tocomplete a survey at the beginning and again at the end of the semester. For most students thissemester is their first in college. A total of 336 students (64 females and 272 males) completedthe initial survey for a response rate of 78% (i.e. 336 survey participants out of 430 total studentsenrolled in the first year chemistry course). The pre-survey included questions about a student’sprevious experience with tutoring in high school and his/her likelihood to utilize extra resourcesat the college level. It also included questions to uncover the “trigger point” at which a studentdecides they will seek additional help. Not surprisingly, women had a higher trigger thresholdthan men (B- for women versus C+ for men on average). There were also gender differences inthe factors that were reported as being most important in utilizing supplemental instruction.Women indicated that tutors’ friendliness was among the most important factors, whereas menranked tutors’ availability and ability to explain the material as most important. Both gendersindicated that empathy was a key factor when it came to tutoring.This paper presents the results of pre- and post-surveys as well as analysis based on gender andprior experiences. We identify correlations among use of supplemental instruction, attitudestowards chemistry, success in freshman General Chemistry for Engineers, and overall success inthe College of Engineering program.
Coletti, K. B., & Covert, M., & DiMilla, P. A., & Gianino, L., & Reisberg, R., & Wisniewski, E. (2013, June), Understanding the Factors Influencing Student Participation in Supplemental Instruction in Freshman Chemistry Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22666
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: © 2013 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