Analysis of Math Course Placement Improvement and Sustainability Achieved Through a Summer Bridge Program
2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings
Hoessein Hosseini has received his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Iowa in 1982. He has been a faculty member with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM) since 1983. Currently he is professor and Chairman of the Computer Science Program. Hosseini's expertise is in the areas of computer networks, computer architecture, fault-tolerance, and distributed and parallel computing. He is the
... ng. He is the Founder and Co-director of the Computer Networks Laboratory at UWM. Hosseini has published more than 120 research papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings. One of his co-authored papers has won the Best Paper Award, and he has published two book chapters. He is the recipient of a patent in the field of computer networks. He has supervised nine Ph.D. and more than 60 M.S. students and has received funding from NSF and industry. Hosseini is an internationally known figure; he has served on the editorial board of a journal and on the program committee of several international conferences. He regularly reviews research papers for various journals and conference proceedings and textbooks for book publishers. Hosseini has played a leading role in the development of electrical engineering and computer science programs, including the development of the new B.S. degree program in computer engineering, the initiation of the computer science program accreditation by ABET, and the growth and expansion of curricula in computer architecture and computer networks, where he has developed several undergraduate and graduate courses. Abstract As part of an NSF-supported project, a summer bridge program for incoming engineering and computer science freshmen was conducted each summer between 2009 and 2011. The primary purpose of this program was to improve the mathematics course placement for incoming students who initially place into a course below Calculus I as determined through a math placement examination. The students retake the university's math placement examination at the end of the bridge program to determine if they may enroll into a more advanced mathematics course. Generally, if a student improves his or her math placement the program is considered successful for that student. However, it is also important in evaluating the success of the program to consider the performance of the students in their Fall semester math courses. The mathematics portion of the bridge program centers on using the ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces) software package for targeted, self-guided learning. The program took place exclusively in an on-campus format, and also featured a required residential component and additional engineering activities for the students. The program's duration was 4 weeks, and students were expected to improve their math placement by at least one semester. It is expected that improving their math placement will reduce the student's time-to-graduation which should in turn improve retention rates and eventually graduation rates. Data from the 2009 and 2010 cohorts have been collected and analyzed to judge the effectiveness of the program with respect to both improving the students' math placement and the students' performance in future math courses. A lower percentage of students (69%) improved their math course placement in the 2009 cohort, and the students had comparable success to other students in the Fall 2009 semester. For the 2010 cohort, students succeeded at improving their math placement at a higher rate (83%), but the overall performance of the cohort in their Fall 2010 semester math courses was not as good as the previous year's cohort's first-semester performance. The changes made in the program between 2009 and 2010 are discussed, as are the results of the programs and subsequent math course performance. The evolution of the program to its 2011 format is also described, as are the results for math course improvement in the 2011 program.