The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) embarked on a study to identify where their engineering students were struggling over three years ago in an effort to address student success, persistence, and retention. In this study, the committee identified that students were ill-equipped in engineering problem solving methodology and basic engineering computer programming. To address these concerns, a new course named Engineering Problem Solving was created utilizing the Student Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies (SCALE-Up) method. This class has aided in improving student retention and persistence in engineering. However, to further enhance this effect, Supplemental Instruction (SI) was added to the existing just-in-time tutoring model already being utilized in the class. This addition was made in an attempt to increase student success within the course, especially addressing the mathematically underprepared and underrepresented minority groups within UTA’s diverse engineering student body. SI provides a more structured studying environment in which students are led by a peer group mentor, known as an SI leader, in solving problems, receiving tips on good study habits, and other student success strategies. This is in contrast to the just-in-time tutoring sessions that are more “drop-in” in format, getting answer to specific questions the students have. This paper will assess the effects that these two different methods have on success rates in the course, defined as receiving an A, B, or C. Further, this paper will explore first semester retention data in order to assess the effects of these learning resources above the already effective retention rates shown in the class as a whole. Finally, this paper will explore the effect these methods have on particular student groups shown to struggle more in the class than their counterparts, including underprepared students, and underrepresented minorities. This paper will show all students benefit from these resources as evidenced by increased first semester retention and success rates.
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