I have tried multiple methods to improve student completion rates in MAT121. One was to teach MAT121 integrated with AAA115. While students learned about college success skills related to math, successful completion rates were not significantly higher with AAA115 than without. In one semester, the successful completion rate of my MAT121 with AAA115 was lower than my other MAT121 sections.
In fall 2013, we did not offer MAT121/AAA115, so I decided to try MAT121 with a peer mentor in one of my three sections. Having a peer mentor did make a positive impact successful completion rates. In the section with a peer mentor, there was an 84% successful completion rate compared to 75% and 63% in my other MAT121 classes (all three sections started with 32 students).
Peer mentoring has helped a couple of bio courses also. I need to get the instructors to complete a CATS :)
Michelle, this is a great example of action research. You tried something (AAA115), there was no evidence that it improved things, so you tried something different (student mentor), and it showed great success. This provides evidence that we need to scale peer mentoring up at EMCC to get some more data on its effectiveness. Do you know how much the peer mentors cost? With more data, we may need to advocate reprioritizing the EMCC budget to get more funding to target key courses like MAT121 that could very well proved to be critical to student retention and graduation. I hope to see more data on peer mentors in the future!
It sounds like a great idea, Michelle, and the results certainly show that. A couple of questions: is this a trained peer mentor from our NASA area, or are these identified peers in your classes who are academically on top of things? And if it is a trained peer mentor, how (and when) do you use them in your lessons?