1. To develop an introductory biology preparation assessment test 2. To determine what factors affect performance in introductory biology 3. To predict student performance in Intro Bio by using preparation assessment scores and other readily available data
We have a preparation assessment that we are reasonably confident “works” for predicting student success in Intro Bio, along with ACT score. The assessment works better for 171 than 172, so we know we need to refine the 172 portion of the assessment for the future. We continue to search for and think about other factors that we can measure to include in the predictive model, as we would like to have a model we are very confident in before we use it for advising. Some students outperform or underperform by a large margin, which is surprising and challenging. We’d like to try and figure out what is happening with these individual students, both to inform the assessment and to think more about how to best support our CSP students. Engaging in this project has helped me think more about what types of supplemental instruction might be necessary to support my students. I was expecting students to struggle with some of the content on the pre-assessment, but I did not expect average performance to be less than 50%. Questions were based on the Next Generation Science Standards for high school science, but it abundantly clear that my students do not leave high school having mastered this material. I hope that this project might inspire other CSP faculty to design similar assessments, as proper course placement for freshmen, especially those with weak academic backgrounds, may play a big role in retention/graduation rate at UM, as well as retention in STEM majors.
We will continue to improve and refine the assessment, as well as to try and determine what other factors affect student performance in intro bio. We found a significant relationship between student success and both the pre-assessment and ACT scores, but we are not explaining as much of the variation as we’d like.
Once we are more comfortable with the predictive modeling, we hope the assessment will be used for placement advising, at least in Bridge or CSP.