Pre-Calculus and Calculus 1 Readiness Workshops

Tom Cheatham, Middle Tennessee State University

Selected as a Rapid Talk at the NSEC 2017 National Conference

Program Activities Type


Program Components

Academic Support
Student Engagement
Supporting Students:Bridge Program

Target Audience

English Language Learners
First Generation College Students
Undergraduate Majors
Undergraduate Non-Majors
Underrepresented Minority Students

Program Point of Intervention


Program Description

Students with gaps in their mathematics background are at risk of not succeeding in their upcoming math class. We have begun to do 3-day intensive math workshops the week before the students starts the class to help students fill some of the gaps that may prevent them from succeeding in the course. These workshops have proven to be an inexpensive way to help at-risk students succeed. Students who have previously taken the course, those with poor math ACT scores, students who have not taken math in several years, and others are invited to participate for free. They get to know other students who are in the same boat as they are in and a professor (6 hours per day for 3 days). They fill some gaps and learn that you can study math for a long period of time without dying. Data from the first few semesters is promising.

Program Purpose

Help STEM majors with poor math preparation succeed in math.

Cost effective. Students will not register for a full math bridge program as such an activity costs too much.

Program Goals

Help at-risk students succeed in math (and maybe in their chosen STEM major)

Program Activities

Found a faculty member willing to lead the workshop (on the cheap)
Pulled list of students enrolled in the course for the upcoming semester.
Selected students who are at-risk.
Invited them to apply for the workshop
Provided continental breakfast and morning and afternoon snacks. On their own for lunch.
Did pre- and post-testing to see if progress.
Followed through course collecting grade at end.
Compared success rate to other groups.

Place to hold the workshop (round tables for group work)

Notes and Tips

Don't expect everyone who needs it to register.
Don't expect everyone who signs up to show up.
Don't expect perfect retention within the workshop.
Don't expect all participants to succeed in the following course.

Evidence of Success

DFW rates for workshop participants is significantly below the overall course DFW rates.

Future Work

Continue to collect data and expand to biology.

References and Accessory Materials