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The Dallas STEM Gateways Collaborative: An Analysis Of Gateway Course Grade Data As A Predictor Of Transfer Student Timing And Success

We have found that transfer student success can be tracked to the timing of the student transfer. We have idenitfied "Gateway" transfer classes that are indicators of future student success. In addition, we have implemented a variety of interventions that are targeted at enhancing the probability of student success.

The Dallas STEM Gateways Collaborative: An Analysis Of Gateway Course Grade Data As A Predictor Of Transfer Student Timing And Success

John Sibert1, Dave Galley2, Kory Goldammer3, and Matt Goeckner1 1-,University of Texas at Dallas, 2- Collin College, 3- Richland College

The University of Texas at Dallas, Collin College, and Richland College of the Dallas County Community College District have established a joint effort, the NSF-sponsored Dallas STEM Gateways Collaborative, to significantly increase the number of undergraduate students completing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in the North Texas region. Building upon previous cooperation among these three institutions and the remarkable concentration of high-tech businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the Collaborative has implemented best-practice methods to bring about a cultural change that will lead to a sustained increase in the production of STEM-trained graduates. First, the Collaborative has strengthened recruitment into introductory STEM courses and expanded the use of student mentoring within those courses to encourage student selection of STEM majors. Second, it has increased opportunities for internships and undergraduate research experiences for students early in their college career to encourage students to remain committed to the pursuit of STEM majors. Finally, a concerted effort of curriculum alignment across all STEM fields at the three participating institutions combined with a formal professional development program aimed at spreading effective pedagogical techniques across all three institutions has been designed to enhance teaching effectiveness at the critical introductory level. The Dallas STEM Gateways Collaborative program will enhance the number, quality, and diversity of undergraduates successfully earning STEM degrees.

As shown on our poster in the pipeline graphic, specific program elements include: 1. The successful 2+2 articulation program in engineering (including important curricular alignment agreements) between Collin College, Richland College and UT Dallas was expanded to all STEM disciplines at both Collin College and Richland College. Enhanced Advising has played a key role in this effort at the community college level. 2. Direct presentations to students, parents, and counselors coupled with the offering of Technical Dual Credit coursework at local high schools has produced a collaborative recruitment effort aimed at making the 2+2 programs known to high school juniors and seniors in the diverse Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. 3. Expansion of the Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) program in gateway STEM classes at UT Dallas has occurred and is in the process of being leveraged to Richland College and Collin College. 4. There have been many collaborative activities among the three institutions to build a STEM student learning community. These activities have included opportunities for: undergraduate research and internships, joint student organization activities, an undergraduate research fair, STEM mentoring career workshops. 5. A Faculty Innovation Grant Award program was created to facilitate research and education innovations across all three institutions. 6. There has been an expanded effort at Richland College to address the Math and Science Tutoring needs of STEM students in specific higher level Math, Physics and Chemistry courses. 7. An outreach effort at Collin College to build a pipeline of STEM students targeted to attend UT Dallas through Robotics Camps and College Robotics Competitions is bearing success.

Finally, a robust method for the tracking of Collin and Richland transfer students within classes and degree programs at the University of Texas at Dallas has been developed to aid the Collaborative in channeling resources to appropriately lower transfer barriers for students. The initial study of STEM Native versus STEM Transfer student data shows the need for intervention by the Collaborative. The data from the initial study is shown below.

Collaborative STEM Transfer Achievements: 1. Increasing student flow into UT Dallas: A four year analysis shows Collin and Richland College STEM student enrollment at UT Dallas has increased dramatically, a pipeline success. Transfer student performance must now be addressed with targeted Collaborative activities and relationships in place. 2. Determined “Gateway” Courses: For our analysis, we chose a variety of Lower Division courses to monitor. Based on our data, we now know to target General Chemistry I & II as well as lower level Calculus as the primary “Gateway” courses. Our initial determination is that the timing of student transfer is a critical component as a predictor of student success. 3. We have worked to determine impediments for success. Our data suggests that there might be certain “key” indicators to address. 4. Our initial determination is that interventions like PLTL can be very successful. In addition, if “off sequence” semesters have large numbers of students, PLTL sections must be offered. As a result of the project, this particular intervention started with the Fall 2014 semester.

The objective of filling the pipeline with students is shown by the enrollment data to be working very well. The data (Math, Chemistry and/or Physics) clearly shows that transfer students need intervention to be more successful. Specifically, the data were studied to determine weaknesses in student preparation and subsequently, develop appropriate targeted interventions. Currently the data set consists of grade and test score data from approximately 13,000 individual students at UT Dallas. Grade data is from 19 courses covering Math, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering, from fall 2008 onward. Those courses were chosen as perceived ‘gateway’ courses into STEM disciplines. As expected, there is an observed correlation between ‘math’ test score data and most of the Math, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering courses monitored. Surprisingly, we have also found a correlation between some ‘English/writing’ test score data and many of the Math, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering courses monitored. At this point in our project, students that have benefited from the intervention activities and the intrusive advising listed above are crossing the transfer boundary between Collin College, Richland College and UT Dallas. The success, persistence and retention are being tracked by our innovative data collection methodology. In addition, specific intervention at UT Dallas is being used to aid targeted transfer students in final STEM baccalaureate success.

Lead Author

  • John Sibert

Institution Information

  • Name: University of Texas at Dallas
  • State: TX

Poster Information

  • ID: TF-014
  • Disciplinary Focus: All STEM
  • Award Number: 0856549
  • Project Year 5+