The effectiveness of blended instruction in core postsecondary mathematics courses


Most students in U.S. universities are required to take a collection of core courses regardless of their degree or major. These courses are known as "general education" courses. The general education requirements typically include at least one mathematics course. Unfortunately each year hundreds of thousands of students in the US do not succeed in these general education mathematics courses causing them to act as a barrier to degree completion. Low student success rates in these courses are pervasive, and it is well documented that the U.S. needs to improve student success and retention in general education mathematics courses. In this paper, we compare the impact of a new instructional style on student retention and success in three general education mathematics courses. The new instructional style, that we have dubbed the Memphis Mathematics Method (MMM), is a blended learning instructional model, developed in conjunction with the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT). Our control consists of conventional lectures using identical syllabuses. The data contains 12,261enrollments in College Algebra, Foundations of Mathematics, and Elementary Calculus over the Fall 2007 to Spring 2010 terms at the University of Memphis. Our results show the MMM was positive and significant for raising success rates particularly in Elementary Calculus. In addition, the results show the MMM as a potential vehicle for closing the achievement gap between black and white students in such courses. © Research Information 2012.

Publication Title

International Journal for Technology in Mathematics Education

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