Comprehensive Assessment Tracking System

Check for Understanding

Calculus I Workbook Changes

In fall 2010, I wrote a workbook to replace the $250 textbook.  Please note:  I do not receive royalties from this workbook.  The workbook (wb) was used in the calculus/physics learning community as well as traditional calculus classes by me only.  Over the years, I have made modification to the wb.  As I became more comfortable with the flow of the course, changing my pedagogy and curriculum because of what I have learned from Dwain and Angela in the learning community,  and really starting to grasp where students struggle and why, I adjusted the workbook.

College Success Week - Roary's Amazing Race!

College Success Week events aim to connect students with members of the College Community to build connections vital to their success. Roary’s Amazing Race was developed this year as a way to re-envision how information about campus resources is provided to students more effectively for campus resource staff and more engaging for students. As students traveled the pathway to earning their free t-shirt, they were given information by each pit stop on upcoming campus events that may interest them (i.e. upcoming shows at the PAC).

Substantive Program Reviews

Program review is a mission-critical strategic planning process and is one critical element of accreditation.  In past years, some departments chose not to complete a program review, while others only did the bare minimum.  Some did stellar work.  Part of the completion problem was length, along with question redundency, and a lack of accountability for its completion.  This year the program review process was redesigned to foster collaboration and accountability between writers and reviewers (Deans/VPs) and to reinforce the application of strategic data for the program.  Questions were add

Multiple choice or written, does it matter?

46 students took an exam with 50% multiple choice and 50% written. A  t test showed no significant different between the grades from the 2 question types. Linear regression analysis showed an R squared value of .6.  A student getting -8 on the MC, was likely to get close to a -8 on the written.  This suggests to me that test preparation is more important than the type of question asked, but written portions will encourage additional development of writing skills. 

Drill and Kill vs. Journaling

As a math instructor at EMCC for 16 years, I have always believed students must practice.  They have to do 20+ problems outside of class in order to be able to DO problems on exams/quizzes.  From working with physics and chemsitry faculty over the years and seeing what they do with journals, I have been hesitant to try this.  "Math is different.  Math is skill based, and you don't get good at this unless you practice over and over again," I would think to myself.  It took me 16 years to get to this "aha" moment, and I am so excited about this.

Effect of adding study session during class time

Students do poorly on exam 1. Students participated in a study activity during one class period one week before exam 1. The activity emphasized novel presentation of material (puzzle), repetition, additional study time, interaction with other students and the instructor.  The material studied accounted for about 50% of the first exam. Averages of the exam 1 did not differ from averages of 7 previous classes, but grades of A and B almost doubled in the activity group.

Well That Didn't Work

Students in microbiology struggle with osmosis - the movement of water in and out of cells according to solute content of the environment. This is covered in the pre-req course (BIO 156 or 181). Bio fac have articulated these concepts across the courses. Unfortunately for the last couple of years students were directed to skip the pre-req since HS bio counts. Usually osmosis is taught by introducing terms first then numbers (the conceptual piece) to describe the relative differences in solute concentrations  internal and external to cells.

Will a peer sample motivate growth? RESULTS

This semester I am provided a sample of a successful paper submitted by a 1st year student last semester to test the idea that identifying a peer who succeeded with similar challenges will provoke greater effort and ultimately greater success. For the full background on this CATS please see "Will Providing a Peer Sample Motivate Growth?"