Date of Graduation

5-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Workforce Development Education (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Kendra S. Grover

Committee Member

Ketevan Mamiseishvili

Second Committee Member

Kit Kacirek

Abstract

Students in higher education deserve opportunities to succeed and learning environments which maximize success. Mathematics courses can create a barrier for success for some students. College algebra is a course that serves as a gateway to required courses in many bachelor's degree programs. The content in college algebra should serve to maximize students' potential in utilizing mathematics and gaining skills required in subsequent math-based courses when necessary. The Committee for Undergraduate Programs in Mathematics has gone through extensive work to help mathematics departments reform their college algebra courses in order to help students gain interest in the utilization of mathematics in solving real-world problems. In many instances, college algebra courses have evolved from a traditional curriculum into a modeling or applied curriculum. Successful completion rates and academic achievement in a survey of calculus course were compared between students who had traditional college algebra content versus modeling college algebra content. Results of statistical analyses between the two types of college algebra content determined that a higher percentage of students successfully completed survey of calculus on their first attempt when they had traditional college algebra content in a prerequisite course than students who had modeling college algebra content. No statistically significant difference was determined in academic achievement in survey of calculus, measured by average GPA of students, between the two types of college algebra content. The results of this study suggest that a higher percentage of students will complete survey of calculus with a grade of C or higher on their first attempt after successfully completing traditional college algebra content versus successfully completing modeling college algebra content; however, academic achievement based on GPA will not be significantly different between students who successfully complete either type of college algebra content.

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