2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

The Predictive Quality of High School Grade Point Average on the Outcomes of Under-prepared Students in a Mathematics Intervention Course for First-year Engineering Students: How Motivation and Effort Correlate to Student Success

Presented at Predicting Student Success

Previous research on the impact of a mathematics intervention course on engineering students revealed a strong correlation between students’ high school grade point averages (HS GPA), academic conscientiousness and motivation. Further analysis revealed a better than expected graduation rate after this intervention course for students with higher than average HS GPAs even for students with below average ACT Math scores. The increases in graduation rates were determined to be primarily due to increases in mathematics self-efficacy while motivation and effort were only tangentially discussed. While motivation and effort have been considered a factor for success in previous studies, including the one referenced previously here, the focus of these studies has been primarily on students that are academically prepared for engineering programs. This paper focuses on a mathematics intervention course designed to remediate, and increase the math placement of, underprepared students in their first semester of engineering. The course utilizes both a lecture session, where engineering concepts in math are covered in a topic based linear approach, and an online program, where students can self-pace through topics on their own. The course structure allows for tracking of time spent on self-paced tasks online and comparisons with lecture based assignments to aid in the determination of student motivation. Additionally, students retake the university math placement test twice during the semester in order to move ahead in the math curriculum through the remediation process of the course. The objectives of this study are to determine if HS GPAs of underprepared first-year engineering students can predict effort in a mathematics intervention course, if effort in this course may lead to superior outcomes of course objectives including the math placement level and time in self-paced component and if course objectives incentivize or are disincentives for student effort as the course progresses. The study covers 3 semesters of this course and includes 208 direct from high school students. Additional information regarding the 70 minority students and 35 female students that make up the 208 test subjects are also discussed. Applications of study outcomes are discussed in terms of enrollment management applications and student success predictions.

  1. Dr. Anthony Bourne Wright State University [biography]
  2. Dr. Craig Baudendistel Wright State University
  3. Zulima Guilarte Rhodes Wright State University
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