2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 89-7
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM


FREDRICK, Kyle C., Earth Sciences, California University of Pennsylvania, 250 University Avenue, Campus Box 55, California, PA 15419, fredrick@calu.edu

This year marks the fifth implementation of the inclusion of a remedial quantitative skills program within an upper-level Hydrology course at California University of Pennsylvania. This 300-level course attracts mostly sophomores and juniors, typically from three majors, Meteorology, Environmental Studies, and Geology. Because of the varying nature of these programs and their math requirements, many students in Hydrology are unprepared for the mathematical rigors it presents. The only prerequisites are a traditional College Algebra course and Introduction to Geology. To address the math-averse students' concerns and level the playing field for students, a program has been used called "The Math You Need" (TMYN). The program was developed to address quantitative skills in a way that is discipline-specific, focusing on geological context for math problems. Most implementations of TMYN have been for Introductory-level courses, however our implementation was directed in a more rigorous upper-level physics-based Hydrology course. It has proven to be effective in getting non-geology students more familiar with geological concepts, having students gain confidence in their own abililities, and extending the opportunity for higher-level concepts in class. The implementation format includes a pre-test, several quizzes, and a post-test, as well as a post-course self-evaluation. All parts of the implementation occur on-line and outside of class time. Over the first four years, 23 students out of 162 were identified as "high-risk" meaning their pre-test score was below a D. Following the post-test, only 2 of those remained "high-risk." Of all students, only 2.5% scored high-risk at the end of their semester and greater than 90% demonstrated improvement in their quantitative abilities (reading graphs, unit conversions, etc.). Additionally, through their self-evaluations it is apparent that they appreciate the opportunity to review concepts they may not have seen in some time or to practice new concepts before completing higher-stakes in-class assessments.