June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Educational Research and Methods
The National Science Foundation LEARN Consortium is a partnership involving the University of Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University, and Western Carolina University. The goal of the program is to create a transferrable model that improves retention and student success measures in STEM students by successfully engaging them in undergraduate research experiences. The program is specifically targeted for first time in college (FTIC) freshman (F-LEARN) and transfer students (T-LEARN) who have received their AA degree and are enrolling in a STEM major. The LEARN program has three main pillars: 1) Academics/Research, which consists of a two-course, team-taught introduction to research sequence, where the first course focuses on matching students to research faculty mentors and preparing students to successfully apply for internal/external research opportunities, and the second course builds upon the research skills foundation from the introductory course to further develop and defend a research proposal, while working in the lab with a faculty mentor; 2) Mentoring, which consists of a multi-tiered mentoring approach designed to support the students with peer mentors, lab/faculty mentors, and a program mentor; and 3) Community Building, which consists of living/learning opportunities, social programming, and other non-research related extracurricular activities. The assessment measures to determine program impact include comparisons between intuitions and paired control groups using before and after results of the Critical-thinking and Assessment Test (CAT), GPA, credits earned, and retention. A mechanism to directly evaluate evidence of student learning through scholarly writing assignments completed in the introductory research courses was developed by FAU and used at the other two partner institutions. The assessment of embedded measures of student learning outcomes in these writing assignments was conducted by evaluating one writing assignment in each semester. The assessments were evaluated using the same rubric developed by FAU. The major findings for the first full year of the program that started in Fall 2016 show that students participating in LEARN demonstrate improvements in critical thinking, credits earned, and retention characteristics, while maintaining similar grade point averages when compared to the control group. As each cohort of students nears graduation, the authors will test the hypothesis that the LEARN program improves embedded measures of student learning, retention, student success, and probability of placement in summer research opportunities and graduate school, compared to a matched control group who did not participate in the program.
Meeroff, D., & Chamely-Wiik, D., & Kwochka, W. R., & Frazier, E. M., & Merritt, J., & Aldarondo-Jeffries, M., & Morrison-Shetlar, A. I., & Schneider, K. R. (2019, June), Work in Progress: A Transferable Model to Improve Retention and Student Success in STEM through Undergraduate Research (NSF LEARN Consortium) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33587
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