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Student Pathways in STEM Majors
Observation Protocol for Learning Environments (OPLE)
Attrition and Retention in Engineering
Pathways to Graduation for Indigenous Students
Math and Physical Sciences Attrition
Predicting Course Enrollment
Student Course Progress over Time
Student Pathways in STEM MajorsRetention in STEM majors is a pressing initiative on our campus and nationwide. As a first step to improving retention of majors in STEM fields, we need to better understand which students are leaving, when they are leaving, and why they are leaving. Our institution already collects a wealth of useful data about student pathways, and the goal of this project is to make such data more accessible to support better-founded, evidence-based decision-making.
Observation Protocol for Learning Environments (OPLE)The ultimate purpose of the project is to create widely-accessible, flexible, research-based tools for observing educational practices used by faculty and students in classrooms, for use in formative and summative evaluation of teaching.
Characterizing InstructionStudents in large introductory STEM courses often struggle, giving these courses the reputation as being "gate-keeper" courses. The General Chemistry course sequence at UC Davis is one of the highest enrollment course sequences on campus. Our goal was to collect evidence of student learning in General Chemistry and link that data with information on instructional practices in order to form a more complete picture of what is happening in the course series.
Attrition and Retention in EngineeringIn an effort to improve retention in Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, a study was undertaken to identify factors, evaluate recent efforts to reduce attrition, and implement new initiatives to attract and retain students from targeted populations.
Pathways to Graduation for Indigenous StudentsSuccess for Aboriginal students has become a priority at the University of Saskatchewan. As an under-represented minority facing systemic financial and social challenges, more accurately tracking the flows of these students through various programs, providing adequate instructional and social supports, and improving retention and time to completion are important goals.
Math and Physical Sciences AttritionThere are many initiatives to increase the number of students with degrees in STEM fields. One way to increase the number of students with STEM degrees is to reduce the number of students who leave STEM. As a first step to reducing attrition, one must first understand who leaves and when so that interventions can target at risk populations prior to departure.
Predicting Course EnrollmentEach term, the course enrollment must be estimated long before students register because departments need to determine how many sections of a class to offer, reserve adequate classroom space, and find instructors for the classes. Proper estimation is necessary to ensure students have access to courses they need to graduate. This estimation is complicated when a multiple-course sequence can be taken discontinuously, and enforcement of prerequisites is not automated during class registration periods. The purpose of these visualizations is to show how historic course grade data could be used to determine the enrollment composition of a course. These visualizations show student flows leading into enrollment in the third course in a 3-course long sequence (CHE 2A, 2B, and 2C), and how changes to prerequisite enforcement could change enrollment.
Student Course Progress over TimeAt UC Davis, General Chemistry is a required foundational course for a large number of incoming freshmen. However, many incoming freshmen have not had chemistry since sophomore year in high school, if at all. Historically, all incoming freshmen must take chemistry and math placement exams that serve to screen-out underprepared students and prevent them from enrolling in a class for which they are not ready. Underprepared students take a “Workload” course in the Fall term, and General Chemistry in the Winter term. This pattern creates a disparity between the Fall and Winter student demographics. For financial and logistical reasons a few years ago, the placement exams were moved online – unproctored – which makes it a less effective screening tool. The Chemistry Department, in partnership with Educational Effectiveness Hub (EEH), is piloting the use of ALEKS (1) for a Summer-Preparatory course that will prepare students over the summer so that they can enroll in General Chemistry Fall term. The purpose of these visualizations was to determine which students to target for interventions prior to the deadline to finish the preparatory course.