Recipe cards vs. No recipe cards in Calc II

Submitted by Jennifer Shannon on
What is the Purpose of the Assessment?

Students struggle with trig integration and trig substitution. 

Describe the necessity for this assessment

This semester, I wanted to determine whether student recipe cards were busy work or useful/important to enhancing student learning.

Describe how the practice will be implemented

Every semester I have my students write their own recipe cards for trig integration and trig substitution in calc II. They use these recipe cards on practice problems they do in groups, a "project" they do on their own, and then on the exam over integration. Thinking this might be busy work, I decided to not require students to write them. 

Interpret, compare, and describe the results

I compared results from practice problem sets, a project, and also exams between previous semesters (4 in total) that used recipe cards vs. this semester that did not. On average, the semesters where students wrote their own recipes had an 85% success rate as compared to 65% this semester on the assignments. 

After analyzing, and reflecting on the outcome, what are the next steps?

After completeing this assessment I will continue to have the students write and use their recipe cards. These recipe cards are a way for students to explain to themselves, in their own words, how to solve particular problems. This has shown me that recipe cards are beneficial in helping the students retain the information but more importantly aids in the understanding of the process and not trying to memorize.


This assessment assesses the CLO of "Students will pick the most appropriate tool/technique to solving a problem" as well as the ILO of written communication. 

Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
MAT 230
Average: 3.8 (17 votes)


Catherine Cochran Mon, 05/03/2021 - 3:07pm

Hi Jennifer,

Thank you for your CATS submission!  Your recipe cards are an excellent of deeper level thinking.  I believe your students are understanding the "why?" of these concepts too.  They are able to apply this information in their own words.  This a great method to actually learn the material verses just memorize information, as you mentioned.  Great idea!  

Thank You,


Becky Baranowski Fri, 05/07/2021 - 8:38am

Jennifer - thanks for taking time to submit this CATS.  It's amazing how well these recipe cards help our students.  This CATS validated why we do what we do in calculus II.  Thanks!