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Report on Assessment Activity for the Calendar Year 2002

The mission of the Division of Science, Math and Agricultural Sciences is to provide a learning atmosphere, based on solid academic standards, fostered by caring and respect, and inspiring a love for learning throughout life. Effective and innovative techniques will be used to enhance students’ knowledge of science, mathematics, and agricultural sciences and to emphasize their relationship to other disciplines and the world. We believe science, mathematics, agricultural sciences and the scientific method are an integral part of modern life, and that an understanding of them is essential to the success of every educated person.

A.A. in Mathematics

Mathematics graduates will be assessed on their ability to:

1.

apply the concept of the derivative to solve real world problems,

2.

apply the concept of the integral to solve real world problems,

3.

use appropriate technology to solve real world problems.

The assessment tool consists of specific application problems to be included on the final exam in Introduction to Differential Equations (Math 262). The criteria for success is a score 80% or higher.

Out of 9 students tested five passed (55.6%), scoring above 80% on the assessment tool.  The test consisted of 6 multiple-choice questions involving differentiation, integration, and modeling data involving exponential growth.  It was found that one question was poorly formulated. If removed the pass rate would improve to 66.7%.

From the data collected via the current assessment tool, it is evident that some students in the later parts of the mathematics program are not retaining concepts from earlier courses.  This may be due to the amount of time between courses, failure to see the relevancy of earlier concepts to their current material, or perhaps the failure to see how the material from previous courses is interrelated with their current course.  Regardless of the reason, students must understand and retain previous material, particularly from courses in the mathematics major, in order to be successful in the program and in future mathematics programs at the universities.

CHANGES BEING MADE AS A RESULT OF ASSESSMENT:

To address the above problems, beginning in the Fall Semester of 2003, we will administer gateway exams in Calculus 1, Calculus 2, and Calculus 3.  These exams will emphasize mastery of the concepts of right-triangle trigonometry, function notation and evaluation, factoring (Calc 1), derivatives (Calc 2), and integrals (Calc 3).

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