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An analysis of final course grades in two different entry level mathematics courses between and among first year college students with different levels of high school mathematics preparation

Carrie Muir, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare the performance of first year college students with similar high school mathematics backgrounds in two introductory level college mathematics courses, Fundamentals and Techniques of College Algebra and Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematical Skills, and to compare the performance of students with differing high school mathematics backgrounds within each course. High school mathematics backgrounds were considered in three forms: using the binary minimum preparation standards of the college, using levels defined by the preparation standards and high school academic data, and using levels defined only by high school academic data. Performance in the two college courses was considered through two different measures: final grades for students who completed their courses, and a binary measure of course success determined by whether a student completed the course with a grade of C- or above. Statistical tests of correlation, independence of variables, and difference of means were used to analyze the data. ^ The minimum preparation standards were found to have no significant relation to final grade or course performance. Levels of preparation defined by high school data and minimum preparation standards were also found to have no significant relation to final grade or course performance. Levels of preparation defined only by high school data showed no significant relation to course success, but showed a positive relation to final course grade. ^ For students with below or above average levels of high school preparation, as measured by either non-binary scale, there was no significant difference in student performance between the two courses, while students with average levels of high school preparation performed significantly better in the Quantitative Reasoning course than in the Algebra course. For first year students in general, there was no difference in mean final grade between the two courses considered, but rates of success were higher in the Quantitative Reasoning course than in the Algebra course.^

Subject Area

Education, Mathematics|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Muir, Carrie, "An analysis of final course grades in two different entry level mathematics courses between and among first year college students with different levels of high school mathematics preparation" (2012). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3509174.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3509174

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