Common Final Calculus (Traditional vs. Learning Community)

Submitted by Becky Baranowski on
What is the Purpose of the Assessment?

1.  Ensure calculus faculty are covering core concepts.  2.  Use results to compare calculus/physics learning community to stand alone calculus courses.

Describe the necessity for this assessment

1. Faculty are covering several competencies, so this will make sure the most important ones are emphasized.  2.  Show contextualized learning improves student scores.  

Describe how the practice will be implemented

1.  Faculty are informed of the common questions at the beginning of the semester.  2.  From previous CATS submitted about the success of the learning community, calculus and phyics faculty have officially added more learning communities to the schedule.  Starting Fall 17 and each semester on, two 1st semester learning communities are offered and one 2nd semester learning community.  

Interpret, compare, and describe the results

1. Both full time and part time faculty emphasize the concepts from the common questions.  2. The calculus/physics learning community students continually outperform the stand alone calculus courses (see attached Spring 17 and Fall 17 results as well as previously written CATS).  Also, from a previous CATS, we see higher success in calculus 3 when students come from the learning community.  

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

1.  Continue to support the learning communities.  2.  Becky hopes to offer professional development workshops with calculus faculty who teach stand alone calculus courses.  These workshops will work with faculty on how to incorporate labs into the calculus classroom, as well as use Vernier Probe Ware with students.  3.  Organize meetings prior to start of semester with calculus faculty to review common final results.  


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?  If the same, why?  

Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
Attachment Size
mat221-report-f17.pdf 450.75 KB
mat220-report-f17.pdf 516.21 KB
mat221-spr17.pdf 450.73 KB
mat220-spr17.pdf 492.44 KB
Average: 4 (4 votes)


Teri Graham Fri, 09/14/2018 - 1:45pm

Becky I look forward to seeing the results after you teach the stand-alone Calculus course this semester.  My gut feeling is that the learning communities will out perform the stand-alone courses due to the contextualization and immersion into the material rather than predominately lecture and memorization.

Becky Baranowski Fri, 09/14/2018 - 2:15pm

In reply to by Teri Graham

Hi Teri - I definitely agree that the LC will continue to out perform.  The thing I really want to see if I take what I have learned from the LC and apply to my stand alone calc class, will my class perform the same, worse, or better compared to the other stand alone calculus courses.  While I am able to continually show the LC is great for student learning, now can this work in stand alone classes?  I am looking forward to seeing how this works this semester.  Thanks for commenting.