Since Fall 2003, a textbook was used in MAT220 (caculus I). For the last 4 years, handouts were created to supplement the textbook. This semester, students use only a workbook that I created. The purpose of this assessment is to document my observations in the level of engagement of students from using textbook only, slowly incorporating worksheets, to full implementation of a workbook. Most math textbooks are not designed to engage students, thus it was difficult to do so. When I began to incorporate more handouts with "exploratory" type questions, students became more involved with their learning process. Now (with the workbook), students must work together to come up with solutions. Students present the problems to their table mates as I go around the room and assist. There is still some lecture in class, but not what it was in the past. Not only is my teaching style different, but it is so much easier to get students involved with their learning by not using a math textbook. Communication and writing skills are used more in my classes than 10 years ago.
Note: I have not reviewed my retetion and success rates in great detail. I plan to do so once I have taught more semesters using the workbook in MAT220. For MAT151, my success and retetion rates went up when I began to use the workbook only.
Becky - I am looking forward to your retention and success rates as this gets more fully implemented. Two things impressed me about this CATS. First, you have modified your class structure and instruction style to be more of a "Guide on the Side" as opposed to a "Sage on the Stage." Second, your students are expanding their communication and writing skills in a math class! Job well done!
Becky, I'd also be interested to see how students did on tests, particularly the final exam. I know that the math faculty have a common final, so it would be good proof if scores improved on average between a few semesters before the workbook compared to the average of semesters afterwards.
How do students get the workbook: Provided by division, course fee, purchase at bookstore? Sounds like a great way to save students money too!
For college algebra, our common final results went up with the use of the workbook. I believe we have a SAAC EZ form on this. We had two semesters of data after our implementation of the workbook showing the common final results going up; the results were statistically significant, too. =) So, now I want to do this with my calc I to see if there is a difference.
Just a note - this CATS is specifically pertaining to engagement in the classroom. I will write another CATS that looks at test scores once I have data.
Becky, I know how hard you have been working to bring in real life /science examples to your classes, I too look forward to your data.