Paper No. 125-6
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM

SUCCESSFUL MATHEMATICS PREPARATION FOR UNDERGRADUATE GEOSCIENCE COURSES USING THE MATH YOU NEED, WHEN YOU NEED IT ACROSS DOZENS OF COURSES AND INSTITUTIONS


WENNER, Jennifer M., Geology Department, Univ of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Oshkosh, WI 54901, wenner@uwosh.edu, BAER, Eric M.D., Geology, Highline Community College, Des Moines, WA 98198, and BURN, Helen E., Mathematics Department, Highline Community College, 2400 S. 240th Street, Des Moines, WA 98198-9800
Since its pilot implementation in 2008, more than 5000 students and approximately 40 instructors have participated in a study of the effectiveness of The Math You Need, When You Need It [TMYN]. Both two-year and four-year institutions are included in this study, with about 50% of each institution type participating. In addition, courses were integrated at both the introductory and upper-level. The results of this large-scale expansion of our pilot study indicate that asynchronous, self-paced web tutorials, like TMYN (http://serc.carleton.edu/mathyouneed/index.html), support and facilitate quantitative learning in a geoscience context. When integrated into a geoscience course, TMYN provides students with mathematical support, motivation and value for quantitative skills and opportunities for students to succeed. Student success is demonstrated in pre- to posttest changes indicating that more than 70% of students show learning gains when TMYN is implemented in a geoscience course. Furthermore, although learning gains are, on average, realized for all students, students who perform low on the incoming pretest improve at a higher rate on the posttest than their better-prepared peers (those who perform higher on the pretest). Thus, TMYN has the effect of “leveling the playing field” for all students. As this NSF-funded project draws to a close, we summarize our findings with a particular focus on the learning gains shown by participating students and ways that this innovative approach to “bridging the mathematics preparation gap” may be implemented in other disciplines.