EVALUATION OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF DUAL-CREDIT GEOLOGY CLASSES AT SIX SCHOOLS IN THE KERN HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT, CALIFORNIA
Although the class had previously been taught at two of the schools for a number of years, its effectiveness in improving student attitudes towards the geosciences and recruiting students into college geoscience majors had not been evaluated. Funding from the NSF and Chevron allowed expansion of the classes to 6 schools in 2012/2013 and supported an evaluation.
Approximately 300 ethnically and demographically diverse student from the 2012/2013 classes were surveyed at the beginning and end of the class. Focus groups with students were conducted at the end of the year. Statistics on student demographics and academic achievement were compiled. Surveys and interviews focused on the impact of the classes in the following areas: (1) students’ perceptions of careers in geosciences, (2) the likelihood that students would major in science, specifically in the geosciences, (3) the likelihood students would attend the sponsoring institution, (4) the likelihood students would attend another 4-year institution, (5) students’ perception of their college preparedness and the impact of the class on it, and (6) students’ perception of geoscience content areas such as earthquakes and plate tectonics. Preliminary results suggest the class had a positive impact on all areas considered.
In addition, the 6 teachers were interviewed at the end of the class to explore the instructors’ perceptions of the differences between a dual-credit class, an Advanced Placement class, and traditional high school science classes. Finally, 100 students from the two 2011/2012 classes, now enrolled in college, were sent a link to a survey designed to evaluate long-term impacts and broaden the depth of the evaluation. Of the 42 respondents, 95% agreed that the class prepared them well for college. All respondents would recommend the class to other high school students, over 90% of them strongly.