Not all faculty have the time or nor want to teach in the calculus/physics learning community. So, how do we help faculty who teach stand alone calculus courses? Also, stand alone calculus courses do not have another instructor present to help emphasize concepts. So, Becky is teaching a stand alone calculus course in Fall 18 to see if she can cut down on some competencies, incorporate labs, and she will compare her course to other instructors who teach non-learning community calculus courses. Did Becky's class perform the same, worse or better on the common final? If worse, why?
The purpose of this CATS is to document a qualitative review on my experience in the 2nd semester calculus/physics learning community (MAT231/PHY131). Second semester physics covers charges, electric and magnetic fields, circuits, current (etc), and these concepts have been quite difficult for me to grasp and tie into calculus without Dwain’s help. The attached narrative provides my previous experiences, current experience, and plan for the future .
For many years now, physics/chemistry faculty require students to journal after each class period (note: there are other faculty on campus who have been journaling for years, as well). In Fall 2017, a few non-phy/chem faculty incorporated journaling in their classrooms for the first time. In Spring 2018, during week of accountability, approximately 15 instructors met and discussed best practices in journaling.
Every semester, students perfrom poorly on the final exam for calculus I (MAT22X); the average is typically a D/F. Students are given an indepth review guide of all topics in the course along with the answer key that includes detailed steps on how to do each problem. I often make changes to my pedagogy, handouts, activities, exams, homework, and other assessments every semester. In Spring 17, two main things changed in my MAT221 course.
Several years ago, Holly Dison, math faculty, found a calculus concept pre-post test to give in our MAT22X courses. This pre-post exam was copyrighted by another college, but approval was given to use it in our classes as long as we did not share the results with anyone. The exam consisted of 22 multiple choice questions. Each question is designed to see if students understand the CONCEPT; the problems are not procedural. Each multiple choice option is designed to be common misconceptions.
Since Fall 2014 , the calculus instructors have been working on creating common questions to have on the final exam for calculus I. Faculty (both full and part time) meet to discuss pedagogy, common questions and creation of a pre-post test. The common questions are the first half of our final exam with the 2nd half written by each individual faculty member. Each semester, the questions are looked over and kept or modified. The purpose of the common questions is to make sure all calculus faculty are covering "core" topics in MAT22X. The attached data covers S16 and F16 results.
In our first run of the PHY131/MAT231 learning community (LC) in Fall 16, we tried a format of seting up a physics problem on an exam, and then use the resulting integral to be solved on the math portion of the exam. We would like to do this for each of the 5 exams in Fall 17. This would allow/require us to focus on intgrals from day one and reorder material in both classes. Some reordering was done in Fall 16, but after our first time around, we realize that more needs to be changed.
For only the second time EMCC offered PHY131/MAT231 LC this fall. While N was small (12 and 15) some interesting results were found. On CSEM post test both classes scored above national average of 47% and no real difference in classes. The LC improved dramatically from first exam to last (pre-final) where the other remained flat. It is encouraging that the LC even though the students started at least 1 MAT class behind performed as well and improved up to traditional class scores as semester progressed.
As stated in a previous CATS (Conceputual Understanding in PHY121), the focus of this assessments is on the conceptual understanding of the Learning Community compared with the traditional Phy 121 course. Current data continue to show that the overall learning of the learning community student is equivalent those of the traditional student.
Learning Community (LC) faculty have been saying for 6 years that the main focus on the LC is to help students in future STEM courses. Majoring in a STEM field is difficult; math is a barrier for most students. Approximately 20% of community college students start as a STEM major with 69% of them changing it to non-STEM. The LC course is designed to help students be successful STEM students and truly understand how math and physics are intertwined. So, student grades were analyzed from fall 2010 - spring 2016. Students that went through the LC vs.