Characteristics of Successful Programs in College Calculus
February 26, 2013
The MAA is conducting a study of Calculus I instruction in American colleges and universities sponsored by NSF (DRL REESE #0910240). The goals of this study are:
- To improve our understanding of the demographics of students who enroll in calculus, and
- To measure the impact of the various characteristics of calculus classes that are believed to influence student success.
The PI and co-PI’s are David Bressoud (Macalester College), Marilyn Carlson (Arizona State University), Vilma Mesa (University of Michigan), Michael Pearson (MAA), and Chris Rasmussen (San Diego State University). Institutional Review Boards of Arizona State University and San Diego State University have provided IRB approvals.
Information about and gathered from the study can be found at:
Also, see pdf files of talks on Characteristics of Successful Programs in College Calculus : Preliminary Findings at www.macalester.edu/~bressoud/talks.
- Bressoud, D. 2011. The Calculus I Student. MAA Launchings. May, 2011. Available at http://www.maa.org/columns/launchings/launchings_05_11.html
- Bressoud, D. 2011. The Calculus I Instructor, MAA Launchings. June, 2011. Available at http://www.maa.org/columns/launchings/launchings_06_11.html
- Bressoud, D. 2012. MAA Calculus Study: Intended Careers. Launchings. October, 2012. Available at http://launchings.blogspot.com/2012/10/maa-calculus-study-intended-careers.html
- Bressoud, D. 2012. MAA Calculus Study: The Instructors. Launchings. November, 2012. Available at http://launchings.blogspot.com/2012_11_01_archive.html
- Bressoud, D. 2013. MAA Calculus Study: Good Teaching. March, 2013. Available at http://launchings.blogspot.com/2013_03_01_archive.html
- Bressoud, D., M. Carlson, V. Mesa, C. Rasmussen. 2013. The Calculus Student: Insights from the MAA National Study. Submitted to International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology. Available at http://www.maa.org/cspcc/CSPCC4IJMEST.pdf
- Bressoud, D., M. Carlson, J.M. Pearson, C. Rasmussen. 2012. Preliminary Results of the Study of Characteristics of Successful Program in College Calculus. 12th International Congress on Mathematics Education. Seoul, Korea, July 8-15, 2012. Available at http://www.maa.org/cspcc/TSG13_Bressoud.pdf
- Ellis, J., M. Carlson, D. Bressoud, S. Jacobs, C. Rasmussen, M. Pearson, E. Weber. 2011. Surveying Mathematics Departments to Identify Characteristics of Successful Programs in College Calculus. PowerPoint presentation given at the RUME conference, February 23, 2011. Available at http://www.maa.org/cspcc/Ellis2011.pdf
- Tallman, M. and M. Carlson. Preprint. A Characterization of Calculus I Final Exams in U.S. Colleges and Universities.
Description of Study
Phase I of the project involved surveys of Calculus I classes in two- and four-year undergraduate programs across the United States during the Fall term of 2010. We had the participation of 212 colleges and universities, over 700 instructors, and over 14,000 students. The surveys are listed below with links to the questions that were asked:
In April 2010, chairs of departments selected by stratified random sample provided (or designated another departmental member to provide) the names and contact information for Fall term instructors of mainstream Calculus I. These instructors were contacted at the start of the Fall term to complete the instructor survey. They also were asked to require their students to complete an online pre-survey during the second or third week of class. Instructors and students were also asked to complete a post-survey at the end of the term. All information from the students was collected anonymously.
Phase II of the project involved case study visits to 17 colleges and universities that were identified as having successful programs in Calculus. During fall term 2012, four teams, each consisting of a researcher in undergraduate mathematics education, a mathematician, and a graduate student or post-doctoral researcher visited four institutions identified as having particularly effective programs in Calculus I. One university was visited in spring 2012. The team leaders are
For more information, please contact Olga Dixon, MAA Project Administrator, 202-319-8498, firstname.lastname@example.org, Linda Braddy, Deputy Executive Director for Programs and Services, 202-387-5200, email@example.com, or David Bressoud, Project Director, 651-696-6559, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Vilma Mesa (University of Michigan), two-year colleges
- Sean Larsen (Portland State University), four-year colleges
- Eric Hsu (San Francisco State University), master’s degree granting institutions
- Chris Rasmussen, PhD granting institutions