Discipline: Mathematics & Statistics
Subcategory: STEM Science and Mathematics Education
Jessica Lopez - St. Philip's College
Co-Author(s): Maria Rodriquez, St. Philip's College, San Antonio, TX
With Calculus being the first math requirement and a prerequisite for science and engineering courses, students pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) are unable to begin their degree plans until they complete a year or more of developmental math courses. This delay prolongs graduation and creates discouragement. Consequently, many students change their majors or drop out. Since mathematics is an interconnected network of concepts and procedures, it is sequential and successive. Thus, finding and filling in the gaps is equally as important as decreasing the amount of time in developmental mathematics to ensure success of STEM students. Therefore, the goals of the STEMed Project are to (1) fill in knowledge gaps to build a solid foundation for learning higher level mathematics and (2) decrease the amount of time spent at the developmental math level. The STEMed Project offers a modularized approach of four, four-week Modules in one semester (which later changed to 16 weekly modules) taking the student from Elementary Algebra to Precalculus so students may begin their degree requirements the following semester. ALEKS, a web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system developed as the result of research in mathematical cognitive science, is used in these Modules. The continual assessment within the system allows students to fill and prevent future gaps in their skills and knowledge. The project uses an empirical style of teaching which entails on-demand assistance (and later included just-in-time mini-lectures). The project will become departmentally adopted and required for all STEM majors entering at any level of developmental mathematics. The program also helps address veteran students who are not tested for college-level readiness but enter college-level courses unprepared and ultimately finish unsuccessful. Since all students begin at the Elementary Algebra level, the ALEKS system will help everyone to fill in the gaps of knowledge so that they may learn the college-level material effectively. The structure and design could also transfer to other developmental areas such as English and/or Reading to rapidly prepare students for college-level courses. Ultimately, this project will be proposed to be implemented at all five colleges within the Alamo College District.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF HBCU-UP
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,