Geoscience Success Lessons: Short interventions to improve student success in introductory geology labs
Geoscience students report math skills and attitudes as a barrier to their interest and success in geoscience. Yet, few studies have examined whether math serves as a barrier to student success and persistence because students lack math skills and/or because students have negative math attitudes. To address this gap in the literature and to help remove math as a barrier for students, we developed instructional interventions that address math skills and affective domain (e.g., math anxiety, math self-efficacy, goal-setting, metacognition, stereotype threat, and interest). For this project, we adapted existing math interventions from "The Math You Need, When You Need It." We also developed novel affective interventions modeled after "The Math You Need, When You Need It." The math and affective domain interventions have a flipped teaching model with self-paced online pre lab work and a structured 8- to 12- minute in-lab activity related to the pre lab work. Each intervention had six separate lessons. We taught the interventions in introductory geology labs at the same university--about 25 students completed the math lessons and 25 completed the affective domain lessons. To measure pre- to post-intervention changes in students' affective domain variables (i.e., math anxiety, math efficacy, math stereotypes, geoscience efficacy, geoscience interest, and intent to major in geosciences), we administered surveys before and after participation in the interventions. The results suggest that these short interventions are impactful for improving all students', and particularly female students', math affect. While additional data are necessary to make broad claims about the impact of these interventions, particularly in the longer term regarding geoscience career interests, preliminary evidence suggests that they are a useful tool to removing a barrier for students in geoscience.