Student Success and Retention through Transformation of Lower Division STEM Critical Courses The FIU Mastery Model of Instruction Suzanna Rose &

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1 Student Success and Retention through Transformation of Lower Division STEM Critical Courses The FIU Mastery Model of Instruction Suzanna Rose & Leanne Wells

2 Need College Algebra Commonly, first math course for FTIC students ~1800 students enrolled each Fall 65-70% DFW rates each semester, with 1/3 of those not returning 30 or more sections mostly taught by adjuncts Serious roadblock for STEM majors and sinkhole for university dollars

3 Mastery Math Program High-Tech Components Computer-assisted learning State-of-the-art lab with 204 computers Mandatory lab hours iclickers Social media Real-time gradebooks

4 Mastery Math Lab High-Touch Components Faculty teams, weekly meetings Personal contact with faculty Fully staffed lab with 40 hours of faculty presence 35 Learning Assistants (LAs) provide 200 hours of staffing LAs hold 46 sections of Math Gym weekly

5 Mastery Math Program: Results Increased College Algebra pass rates Academic Year Pass Rate 33% 46% 54% 64% 60% Performance on beginning of the semester pretest in subsequent classes surpasses students from other pipelines.

6 Mastery Math Program: Results Fall 2015, 81% of College Algebra students attended all 14 Math Gym sessions. Over 7,000 FIU students visited the lab ~240,000 times for ~370,000 hrs of time on math tasks. Development of online courses using Mastery Math practices Online College Algebra and Finite Math course now has pass rates in line with face-to-face course up from as low as 10% Creation of new standards for online courses Changing expectation of what it means to teach online courses

7 Mastery Math Lab Results High student satisfaction Sample survey questions/responses: How satisfied are you with the lecture part of the course? Fall 2012: 44% positive response Fall 2014: 80% positive response Mandatory lab hours are what motivate me to keep up with the homework and the homework is what helps me learn the material the best! I like the ability to ask LAs for help one on one because I can t really ask my teacher for help in class because she s always in a hurry.

8 Critical Courses Defining and Identifying Lower Division course with 1) High enrollment: 1,600; 2) High failure rates: 13% DFW; and/or 3) High impact: a dropout predictor. Resulting in 17 courses that are critical to student retention and progress toward graduation 8 of the 17 are science and math courses including Finite Math, PreCalc Algebra, Chemistry, Biology

9 STEM Mastery Expansion Implementation Finite Math Social Choice Math PreCalculus Algebra Trigonometry Introductory Physics with Calculus General Chemistry I & II Carry-over into Analytic Chemistry

10 STEM Mastery Expansion Guiding Principles To harness appropriate technology to maximize the amount of time faculty interact with students and maintain an ongoing, inclusive dialogue between faculty and student. To cultivate a high-touch environment where students and faculty are agents of their own success and communication is clear, engaging, respectful and personal.

11 STEM Mastery Expansion Overarching Features Instructional teams for each course Active Learning/Inverted Classroom Learning Assistants in the classroom and in help sessions. High touch High tech Course alignment and consistency

12 STEM Mastery Expansion Course Redesign Courses transformed using the Mastery Model of Instruction are purposefully designed to foster student engagement and to encourage persistence. Mastery course are to: provide opportunities for active learning embedded in the classroom setting using Learning Assistants as facilitators provide formative feedback during class and with weekly assessments create a modularized, consistent, and logical curricular structure present relevance of the material and the course

13 STEM Mastery Expansion Instructional Redesign The role of faculty is critical in the success of students. Mastery Model instruction must include: a consistent core of full-time faculty engaged in creating positive learning environments faculty engagement in weekly course-specific working meetings to plan instruction and assessment. development of faculty awareness of student needs faculty commitment to and ownership of course and student success purposeful use of well-trained, pro-student Learning Assistants.

14 STEM Mastery Expansion Online Offerings Online Mastery Model requires similar course and instructional redesign components are used including High Touch elements. Online success for College Algebra required: modularization of coursework with weekly formative assessments faculty presence and engagement assignments designed to actively engage students with each other, Learning Assistants, and faculty

15 STEM Mastery Expansion Online Offerings An essential component to the online course redesign is the Mastery Math Virtual Lab (MMVL). This virtual environment allows off-campus students to make connections to other students and the faculty (High Touch) using Adobe Connect. The MMVL is used to: provide on-demand Learning Assistant help create impromptu discussion pods and breakout rooms for group work schedule required virtual group problem solving sessions present interactive learning tools to students and assign tasks using those tools

16 STEM Mastery Expansion Initial Results Passing Rate Comparison for Critical Math Courses FINITE MATH SOCIAL CHOICE MATH TRIGONOMETRY PRECALCULUS ALGEBRA Fall 2013 Spring 2014 Fall 2014 Spring 2015 Note: Solid blue line indicates start of Mastery Model adoption in Fall Full adoption Finite Math and Social Choice Math. Partial adoption Trigonometry and Precalculus Algebra.

17 STEM Mastery Expansion Initial Results Changes in course structures Collaboration on tests and department final Consistent testing across sections Increased in-class group work No more grade norming, beginning to think about criterion based assessment Changes in course content Questions that ask students to predict, argue, explain New more accessible textbooks Vertical and interdisciplinary alignment

18 STEM Mastery Expansion Initial Results Faculty Engagement Ownership of the course and its materials, continuous improvement Reflective practice in end of semester/year report Communicating with each other Communicating with students Awareness and desire for data University Commitment Strategic Plan Faculty and Instructor Hires (14 in math for Fall 2015) Administrator time and effort STEM faculty developer

19 Next Steps Full participation of faculty Work with FIU LA Program to integrate LAs into course Work with STEM Transformation Institute to develop evaluation plans Continue faculty meetings with coordinators taking a stronger role Expand Online Mastery Model to development of hybrid sections Move into active learning classrooms, motivates adoption of student-centered practices Mastery Math Lab 2

20 Mastery Math Thank you Suzanna Rose: Leanne Wells:

21 Precalculus Pretest Internal

22 SMTI Conference New Orleans, June 2015 Student Success and Retention through Transformation of Lower Division STEM Critical Courses The FIU Mastery Model of Instruction Suzanna Rose & Leanne Wells A. Background The FIU high-tech, high-touch Mastery Model was first implemented in 2011 as part of FIU s effort to improve student success in College Algebra. The pilot studies led by Rose quickly determined that it was effective at improving students pass rate and the expansion of the program was incorporated into a Title V grant to improve student retention and success in Algebra and Intermediate Algebra. The model is structured so that students spend time working on math with expert help available at hand. The program, tested and led by Rose and Wells, encourages students to have frequent personal communication with their faculty and undergraduate Learning Assistants. Over the past four years, the model has resulted in a 30% increase in passing rates in Algebra along with a steady decrease in drop rates. Recent introduction of key elements of the Mastery Model to other lower division STEM courses has resulted in increased pass rates (e.g. Precalculus Algebra up 14% in one semester) and decreased drop rates (e.g one section of Introductory Chemistry halved its drop rate). Additionally, transforming online College Algebra using the Mastery Math principles and components resulted in average pass rate of 59% (Fall 2013 Spring 2015), up from an historic average pass rate of ~10%. B. Guiding Principles To harness appropriate technology to maximize the amount of time faculty interact with students and maintain an ongoing, inclusive dialogue between faculty and student. To cultivate a high-touch environment where students and faculty are agents of their own success and communication is clear, engaging, respectful and personal. C. Components of the Mastery Model 1. Course Redesign Courses transformed using the Mastery Model of Instruction are purposefully designed to foster student engagement and to encourage persistence. Some key characteristics of Mastery courses are to: provide opportunities for active learning embedded in the classroom setting 1 provide formative feedback during class and with weekly assessments create a modularized, consistent, and logical curricular structure 2 present relevance of the material and the course 2. Instructional Redesign While the course transformation is essential, the role of faculty is critical in the success of students. It is essential that faculty develop ownership of the course that they transform and of the success of their students. The Mastery Model requires that the faculty teaching Mastery classes work together in course transformation teams to produce collaborative high tech, high touch instruction. As part of instructional redesign, Mastery Model instruction must include: a consistent core of full-time instructors, tenure-track faculty, or dedicated adjuncts, engaged in creating positive learning environments development of faculty awareness of student needs faculty commitment to and ownership of course and student success purposeful use of well-trained, pro-student Learning Assistants (LAs) 1 Freeman, S., S.L. Eddy, M. McDonough, M.K. Smith, N. Okoroafor, H. Jordt, and M.P. Wenderoth. (2014), Active Learning Increases Student Performance in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(23): Eddy, S. L., & Hogan, K. A. (2014). Getting under the hood: How and For Whom Does Increasing Course Structure Work? CBE Life Sciences Education, 13, doi: /cbe

23 faculty engagement in weekly course-specific working meetings to plan instruction and assessment. 3. Learning Assistants (LAs). The Mastery Model has incorporated the use of LAs into its instructional practices across the STEM disciplines. FIU s undergraduate Learning Assistant program is an experiential teaching program that is based on the University of Colorado LA program. Faculty at FIU that have used LAs in the manner described below have experienced greater student success in lower division Math courses; in common exams (in an inverted Chemistry course) as well as increases in student participation (in a Calculus course that revolves around solving challenging problems in class). FIU LAs are: undergraduates who like math/science and have done well in the course they are LAing. are trained in best instructional practices for teaching the course (1 credit course) and participate in weekly planning with their assigned faculty. best at facilitating problem solving, mathematical and scientific thinking, and addressing common mistakes. a vital element of the high touch Mastery Model because of FIU s largely Hispanic student population. Research indicates that Latinos prefer asking friends or family, instead of faculty, for advice. In this role, LAs learn to see themselves not only as essential to the learning of content and an irreplaceable feedback tool for course transformation, but also to students college survival skills. paid to work 8-12 hours weekly, thereby providing them with relevant employment experience that enhances their post-graduate job prospects 4. Online Offerings As universities increase the number of courses taught online, they need to ensure that students succeed in those courses. As with the face-to-face College Algebra, restructuring the online math courses using the Mastery Model requires similar course and instructional redesign components are used including High Touch elements. Online success for College Algebra required: modularization of coursework with weekly formative assessments faculty presence and engagement assignments designed to actively engage students with each other, Learning Assistants, and faculty An essential component to the online course redesign is the Mastery Math Virtual Lab (MMVL). This virtual environment allows off-campus students to make connections to other students and the faculty using Adobe Connect. The MMVL is used to: provide on-demand Learning Assistant help create impromptu discussion pods and breakout rooms for group work schedule required virtual group problem solving sessions present interactive learning tools to students and assign tasks using those tools D. Team Selection and Structure. The Mastery Program Director, department chairs, and course coordinators identify the instructors on the course transformation teams. Each team includes the course coordinator. Faculty on the team commit to teaching the course and working on the team for at least 2 years. Faculty team members receive a small stipend in the summer for participating in course redesign workshops. By Fall 2016, 40 sections of lower division critical STEM courses across instructional platforms will be taught using the Mastery Model of Instructional.

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