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Title:The effectiveness of pre-course and concurrent course interventions on at-risk college physics students' mechanics performance
Author(s):Rose, Sara
Director of Research:Abd-El-Khalick, Fouad
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Abd-El-Khalick, Fouad
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Gladding, G.E.; Lubienski, Sarah T.; Mestre, Jose P.
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Secondary & Continuing Educ
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):introductory physics
post-secondary science education
at-risk college student performance
propensity score analysis
Abstract:Students at risk for poor performance or withdrawal in post-secondary education, and particularly in scientific fields, are the focus of educators interested in improving retention and persistence rates in college science studies, as well as equity and diversity of their institutions’ graduates and the overall workforce. This study aimed to assess the effectiveness of two intervention courses―one prior and one concurrent to the course of interest―on at-risk students’ performance in an introductory college physics course. Participants were engineering freshman with prerequisite calculus credit enrolled in an introductory mechanics course—the target course—at a large Midwestern university. Students at different levels of risk were identified by logistic regression analysis on collected measures of prior education, national exam scores, university diagnostic scores, as well as demographic and socio-economic information. The study had a quasi-experimental, posttest only, non-equivalent control group design, which utilized propensity score matching to assess the differential impacts of the two approaches on at-risk student performance and persistence in the target course. Data analysis gauged the size and nature of the interventions’ impact on participants’ performance. By controlling for additional factors, analyses allowed for making generalizations related to the characteristics of students at risk for poor or failing performance in, or withdrawal from, college-level physics. Analyses indicated that students from both interventions performed better on the target course's assessments. The students who participated in the concurrent course instruction, which is focused on metacognitive skill development, saw twice the performance gain than the Pre-Course students when compared to their peers who received no intervention.
Issue Date:2014-01-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Sara Rose
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-16
Date Deposited:2013-12

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