Predicting success in a mathematics course

Date

5/30/2017

Authors

Demir, Zeynep Seven

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Abstract

Retention is a genuine, valid apprehension for many two-year colleges and four-year universities in the United States. As many as 1 in 3 first-year students do not return for the sophomore year due to variety of reasons, such as family problems, insufficient funds, and academic challenges (Freshman Retention Rate, n.d.). Given these circumstances, many successful colleges, including Texas Woman's University (TWU), look to implement strategies to maximize the retention rate by admitting students who appear to have a good chance of success.

There are several methods to identify and better understand the impact of various practices on college student retention and persistence to degree completion. A critical step on the student pathway is the placement of students as they enter college. To facilitate the journey, an advisor can use the scores from a placement exam to decide an appropriate level course for a student’s current knowledge level. Validity studies for these exams are essential for institutions to evaluate cut-off scores and ensure students are appropriately placed in courses that match their skill level. The main purpose of this study is to compare the efficacy and effectiveness of two placement tests: Accuplacer and the historical placement rules of the TWU departmental Mathematics exam. Efficacy ? refers to whether a product or intervention has a positive influence on learning, such as reducing wrong answers, increasing retention rates, or raising final exam scores. Effectiveness measures the size of the educational development of a product or educational intervention. After the analysis, we can determine whether Accuplacer or the TWU departmental Mathematics exam is the better prognosticator for placing students in classes appropriate for their skill level.

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Keywords

Pure sciences, Education, Placement exam, Predictive, Proportion, Success

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