This Week's Message
Setting Students Up for Success
I am wearing my Student Success hat as I write this week's newsletter cover. This year, many people on campus have been involved in projects aimed at improving student success, particularly the success of our first year students. I'd like to highlight some those efforts, here.
The Mathematics and Computer Science Department reviewed student success rates in several courses, including Pre-Calculus and Calculus I. They analyzed student placement scores, the course in which students chose to enroll, and the success of the student in that course. The results of this analysis are three-fold: 1) Student placement into MATH courses will now be determined based on an algorithm utilizing their adjusted GPA and ACT Math sub-score instead of a placement exam; 2) Placement into a MATH course has been adjusted to better reflect skill sets required for success in a particular course; and 3) a new developmental math course has been developed for students whose placement score falls below the threshold for Pre-calculus. Previously, these students had no options for developing their skill set at Augustana.
The Chemistry Department also reviewed student success rates. They analyzed student success rates in General Chemistry paying particular attention to the relationship between knowledge of basic arithmetic and algebra (as determined by an assessment completed by students during week 1 of fall term). This quantitative analysis reinforced anecdotal data that basic arithmetic and algebra skills are required for success in General Chemistry. The department then decided to include a basic algebra assessment in their chemistry placement exam for first year students. Students who score below the determined threshold will be required to register for a co-requisite course focused on building arithmetic and algebra skills. These skills will be taught in the context of chemistry and will allow students to successfully complete CHEM-121 and (hopefully) the yearlong sequence.
The International and Off Campus Programs Office, Coordinator of International Student Services, and the Reading/Writing Center have collaborated to develop a course, Language and Culture of the United States, to help international students with their transition into U.S. culture, including our academic culture. This course is on the Senate agenda for this week, but fingers are crossed that it will be approved.
The Advising Working Group, along with faculty who attended the week 7 Friday Conversation, is working to have an Advising Syllabus in place for our incoming First Year students. Just like a course syllabus, the advising syllabus will outline clear objectives for the first-year advising experience and will clearly state the role of the advisor and advisee.
We know that student success is affected by academic and non-academic factors. As you think about obstacles to student success, are there policy changes, curricular modifications, additional programs, or program modifications you can identify? Give me a call. Let's see if we can do something about it!
Have a great week,