More than 12,000 education researchers descended on San Antonio for the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Philip Newlin, Research Analyst for the Academic Writing and Research Office, Office of Institutional Research, and Global Center for Women and Justice and I presented our paper, The Impact of Supplemental Instruction on At-Risk STEM Courses at a Hispanic-Serving Institution, co-authored by Philip, Dr. Tara Sirvent and myself. Dr. Sirvent was unable to attend.
We began our presentation with an overview of Vanguard University and its demographic shift, then presented the theoretical framework behind the Supplemental Instruction (SI) high-impact intervention used in Chemistry courses with the highest numbers of D, F, or W grade rate. Our research question asked: Can SI be an effective strategy for Vanguard students in Organic Chemistry as measured by the American Chemical Society (ACS)? This quasi-experimental research design included 60 participants, with a control group (no SI interventions) and the intervention group (SI intervention). Our measurements included a statistical analysis of the standardized scores on the American Chemical Society (ACS) assessment for Organic Chemistry and a student survey examining academic self-efficacy, instructional effectiveness, and the value of the course.
Philip conducted and reported on the statistical analysis using a Pearson correlation which demonstrated a positive relationship for those who participated in the SI intervention. Additionally, we found that the Hispanic students saw a 19% normalized gain in performance. We also found the there was a highly significant positive correlation between General Chemistry ACS assessment scores and Organic Chemistry ACS assessment scores (r=.677, p=.003). While a positive change attributed to the intervention was observed, we cannot establish a causal link. The student surveys demonstrated a similar result in that they indicated significant positive reactions. We believe we can state, therefore, that the Supplemental Instruction intervention is predictive of positive student success outcomes as measured by the ACS Assessment Tool for Chemistry, and specifically for students of color. We hope to increase this intervention with other STEM disciplines through Vanguard’s Student Services. It was an excellent conference with research sessions on promising practices that could inform our work at Vanguard.
Philip and I networked with others from universities throughout the nation, however, it was not all work and no play. Philip and I had an opportunity to visit the Alamo where the AERA had a social event. We will “Remember the Alamo!”