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.
Math faculty have developed a MAT091 complete common final exam to be required to be given by adjuncts and as an option for full time faculty. Since the first implementation, the questions have been reviewed and changes have been made as necessary. One of the purposes of the common final is to give instructors guidance on the competencies that are most important. Another purpose is to identify where students are doing well and also not so well so that we as instructors can adjust our teaching. Each instructor receives their individual reports as well so they can compare their data from
Starting in Fall 2013 math faculty worked on developing a complete common final exam to be required to be given by adjuncts and as an option for full time faculty. The first semester that it was widely used was Spring 2014 Since the first implementation, the questions have been reviewed and changes have been made as necessary. One of the purposes of the common final is to give instructors guidance on the competencies that are most important. Another purpose is to identify where students are doing well and also not so well so that we as instructors can adjust our teaching. Each instructo
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.
In differential equations, a programming tool called MATLAB is required for the course. MATLAB allows students to solve/estimate solutions to complex equations through coding. The problems on the exams that require solving through coding are the number one reason why students do not pass the exam. For example, every semester, for the last 5 years, students struggle with coding for two different estimation methods: Euler and Runga-Kutta (rk4). In past semesters, these two topics were taught separately with MATLAB done on different days.
I give an extended introduction to some concepts in critical thinking before starting the physics concepts in my PHY 101 classes. The activities, as they are now, guide students through: what makes sources of information reliable, the structure of a logical argument which I relate to the models we use in class, a little basic logic, logical fallacies, how to design a simple test to see if an idea is true, the importance of blinding, and intuitive versus analytical reasoning. The students seem to enjoy the material though they often find it challenging.
I have used the textbook for reviewing physics content. In the fall spring of 2015, I allowed students an option of doing small at home labs/demos, video themselves doing the activity and explaining the physics behind it. I found that the students who did these activities liked them and demonstated a deeper understanding of the material. In the fall of 2016, I decided to expand this idea and make the assignment a larger requirement of the overal grade. I also provided more opportunities to do these type of small projects.
This is the start of the CATS for the Learning Inquiry Group on Curricular Models for Sustainable Undergraduate Research. As the semester goes on this will be edited to include more of the details of our work. But in brief we will be creating a cross prefix class for undergraduate research. This will include course outline and comptenecies that can be put through the curriculum process for multiple prefixes (PHY, CHM...). Then next academic year we hope to offer at least one of these to complete cycle.