This abstract is for a work-in-progress paper.
From 2004 through 2018, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at a midwestern university received funding through various iterations of the NSF STEP (STEM Talent Expansion Program) to improve retention and student success. A cohort model was implemented that now covers over 95% of incoming first-year students in the college. Members of each cohort have almost identical schedules for the first two semesters in the college. Student services, including tutoring, a living-learning community, and one-on-one student interventions, were implemented. Results have shown significant increases in first-to-second year retention as well as graduation rates. However, students entering the college at the low end of the mathematics spectrum, in particular, continue to be retained and succeed at a much lower rate than first-year students in general. This cohort of students tends to have a higher proportion of underrepresented minority students and a higher portion of students with financial need. It has also been the fastest growing portion of the first-year student class for the past several years. This paper discusses past, current, and planned efforts to increase the success of incoming first year students at the lower end of the mathematical skill spectrum. Suggestions are welcomed regarding both specific interventions as well data that might be the most effective in judging success. Potential collaborators working with similar student groups are also sought to investigate outcomes across multiple campuses.
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