Comprehensive Assessment Tracking System

Mat 091 Pre-Post Test Results = Disappointing

Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (5 votes)
Monday, January 23, 2012 to Friday, May 10, 2013
Abstract: 

I administered a four question Pre-Post test in Spring 2012, Fall 2012 and Spring 2013.  The Pre-Post test is attached for your reference. In Sp12 and Fa12, students showed great improvement from Pre to Post test, however in Sp13, the percentage improvement from pre to post test dropped drastically.  Overall scores on the post test for 2012 were very high (see attached) and for Sp13 were low.  There were two main differences from last fall to this spring that contributed to the lower Pre-Post test results. One was the change from the Aleks placement test to an easier placement test which allowed more underprepared students into the class and two was how I grouped students in the classroom.  In the Fall, I regularly re-assigned groups of students for groupwork in the classroom. In Sp13, I allowed students to choose and keep their own groups.  I feel that this led to a group mentality and when one person brought a negative attitude to the group, the rest of the group took on that attitude and started to slide.  Next fall I will go back to assigning groups of mixed levels of students.

Division/Department: 
Completed Full Cycle: 
Yes
Course Number: 
Mat091

Comments

ERIQF52091's picture
up
0 users have voted.

Holly, don't be too disappointed about the results; your students still did much better on the post-test then the pre-test.  However, I know the high expectations we have for our students and ourselves so it is understandable.  Your hypotheses about the cause in the reduction in post-test scores is interesting.  It will be interesting to see if the scores rebound some when you mix up the groups next semester.  The placement test issue could be more problematic.  Have other math teachers experienced a similar drop in pre-test scores as a result of the Aleks placement assessment?  Sounds like an interesting potential collaboration.  It would be good to get some hard data on it and perhaps use it to advocate for a replacement of the new placement assessment in the best interest of students.

SARFG73781's picture
up
0 users have voted.

There was improvement. Solving systems seem to be hard for students do you do anything differently now?

MICJA94121's picture
up
0 users have voted.

I have also noticed a trend towards more students struggling in MAT121 after the ALEKS placement exam went away.  I am curious to see your results for the next year since we changed cut scores for the placement exam.  I am curious as to whether the change in cut scores for the current exam will have an impact.

I have also noticed that how groups are formed and how long they remain in the groups affects students and their engagement in the material.

Were there any curriculum changes you made beyond the groups and placement exam that may have had some impact on students?

BROAA00004's picture
up
0 users have voted.

So, you think the grouping influenced the scores? It will be interesting to see if it adjusting the groups influences the outcome.

TER2062747's picture
up
0 users have voted.

I agree with your awareness of the affect of the change in the placement tool.  I feel after the scores are raised again next month you will be able to see a statistical difference in your post test scores :-)

MARSL33291's picture
up
0 users have voted.

The change in placement test seemed to really make a difference in my MAT091 and MAT121 classes this year.  I noticed that students had trouble remembering or were mis-remembering many algebraic procedures.  I attributed it to a lack of foundational skills.  I agree with you, Holly, that switching around the groups several times will improve scores - it did in my MAT142 class.

FAR2124542's picture
up
0 users have voted.

I like the idea of introducing a pre-post test to see what my students knew before and what they have learned after & I think the placement testing for any discipline makes a big difference in what kind of students we are dealing with in our classrooms in terms of their previous knowledge of the subject, and it affects the overall class reults.

RENLW35701's picture
up
0 users have voted.

I think the hypothesis about the mixed group structure versus self-selection is very intriguing.  Successful completion in math dropped substantively post ALEKS. This is an extreme confounding variable, so unfortunately you may not be able to see the impact of returning to the instructor identified, mixed groups immediately. You may have to implement the strategy for a longer period of time until the roller coaster of changing math placements scores and assessment instrucments settles down. Great work!

PETAA00009's picture
up
0 users have voted.

Holly - The research behind collaborative learning structures is very strong (Johnson & Johnson, Slavin, Kagan, et. al.) and what you have learned is what is reported: teachers should always choose the groups and make them heterogenous with regards to gender, ability, and ethnicity. But what impresses me the most is that you learned this from the data you gathered and are acting accordingly. That's what closing the loop is all about!