Instructor Perspectives on Undergraduate Students' Preparedness for Coursework, Preliminary Results
Changes in education can occur so rapidly that we geologists, used to considering things in geological time scales, can overlook these changes and their potential impacts. One such area is the coursework required for an undergraduate degree in Geology. Recent studies indicate the types of courses that are required have changed significantly in the past 15 years. Additionally, changes in prerequisites and high school graduation requirements have impacted the preparation of students entering an undergraduate course. It is crucial to identify these changes as they can create a disconnect between students' foundational knowledge and their professors' expectations, endangering students' academic success.
This study aims to identify whether disconnects exist between the foundational knowledge faculty assume students possess at the start of a term and what we can reasonably expect students to have. As part of this larger project, we interviewed geology instructors at an R1 university to identify what preparation professors assume students have when starting their courses, including high school and collegiate coursework, and how they determine what academic coursework they expect. Here we present a preliminary analysis of interviews conducted during the Spring 2023 semester. The overarching goal of this research is to help address mismatches between student preparation and instructor expectations by sharing information with professors and students and assisting professors in determining appropriate curricula, learning objectives, or prerequisite requirements that could improve overall geoscience program outcomes.