Traditional Calculus vs. Learning Community

Submitted by Becky Baranowski on

This CATS is to discuss the difference between the final grade results on my traditional calculus I class vs. the one in a learning community with PHY121. 

On the final exam, there were two problems that incorporated physics concepts, especially regarding the importance of units. The Learning Community course outperformed the traditional calculus class on both of the questions.  One question was a position/time question for which students had to calculate velocity and acceleration.  The learning community had 94% of the students get this problem correct while the tradtional class had 80% of the students respond correctly.  

The second question dealt with related rates.  Sixty-five percent of the learning community students did this one correct while only 57% did it right in the other class.  

As for scores on the final exam, the learning community class did slightly better.  The learning community class had an average of a 75% on the final exam while the traditional class had an average of 71%.  

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Average: 4.5 (6 votes)


Dwain Desbien Thu, 12/12/2013 - 1:13pm

Additionally on the physics final a calculus question showed the LC students outperforming the traditional class 79% to 55% even though the students in the traditional class had more calculus under their respective belts. Once again showing that the students in the LC not only do better at physics but also calculus.

Peter Turner Thu, 01/02/2014 - 11:52am

Good job, both of you! That is good evidence for the value of LCs! I assume your overall success and completion rates paralleled these results. Are you going to do anything different next semester based on your results?

Clay Goodman Tue, 01/07/2014 - 11:13am

Learning communities such as this are excellent examples of contextualization in action.  Students see and experience the relevance across disciplines.  Nice job.

Bronwen Steele Tue, 01/07/2014 - 11:20am

Yes, this is great and Holly just shared with me her experience of teaching without the physics, she feels a void.

Holly Dison Tue, 01/07/2014 - 11:25am

This confirms my experience with teaching Calc 1, both in and

out of a learning community environment.  Last semester I taught Calc 1

without the learning community and Physics to complement the course and 

found that the students level of understanding was much weaker. Also I had a much 

more difficult time motivating students to become independent learners.  This is great 

evidence in support of the Learning Community!

Erik Huntsinger Mon, 01/20/2014 - 5:31pm

This is more evidence of the impact of learning communities on student learning.  It is generally difficult to make such strong comparisions unless you have a traditional class to compare to the learning community class.