Summer Practicum – Surveys!

My summer practicum is almost over. I had a great time learning about the Study Table’s Tutoring program. WR and MD are terrific practicum advisors. If they read this, they will certainly chuckle a little bit. My assessment project was extremely self-directed. I took some study table information, coupled it with Data Warehouse data and wound up proving that the Academic Success Center’s Study Tables are extremely effective at increasing student grades.

I truly enjoyed my conversations/meetings with WR. We would brainstorm new and creative ways to gather data (audio recordings via my mp3 player for example) and we would also discuss other topics in higher education. I can only hope that my next practicum will be as beneficial to my development. WR and I talked at length regarding the structure of my practicum. I was on my own a lot. Our weekly check-ins would ramble on for well over an hour because we needed time to reflect on what I was up to and to speak about the direction of the project. I had never before used my techie skills and my student affairs skills (I sound like Napoleon Dynamite!) in such a way before.

The project went like this:

  • 1. Gather Study Tables attendance sheets to determine attendee frequency.
  • 2. Group attendees into 3 segments – Regulars, Non-Regulars, and Did Not Attends (DNA’s)
  • 3. Gather student data via Data Warehouse using CRN’s
  • 4. Filter and Sort Data using Excel (I learned an amazing amount of tricks and tips with Excel. I now heart Excel!)
  • 5. Calculate percentages of involvement and grade averages
  • 6. Write up reports to send to WR and MD after figuring out that the study tables (especially Math 111) are good for your grades.
  • 7. Move to stage 2 of the project…surveying students for specific information re: Math 111 Study Tables.
  • 8. Write up a phone survey script after conferring with WR about wording and what data he wanted.
  • 9. Figure out a way to record phone conversations via my mp3 player. (I ended up using the ASC’s conference phone. My office looked like a recording studio!)
  • 10. Create and Design an online survey for those students who are not called or are unavailable when called.
  • 11. Test the survey – WR, MD, and DB all had input re: the phone survey. The online survey used the same questions.
  • 12. Call students. I called 20+ students and recorded 4. The 4 that I interviewed were amazingly honest and gave in depth answers.
  • 13. Send out the online survey. Once again I relied on for online survey functionality. They are awesome.
  • 14. Burn an audio cd for later transcribing.
  • 15. Gather a final report from of all the open-ended survey responses.
  • 16. Derive themes from audio and written data. (Unfortunately, I will miss this part because I am out of hours and time. Assessment projects soak up time faster than a sponge in the ocean!)

This project will go down in my history books as my second assessment project and my first successful project in that it was very personally fullfilling. The first project (for my assessment class) was personally very taxing but the process was enriching. It was very rewarding to be able to contribute data/analysis of a successful project so that the ASC can report to the president that they are indeed a success. This project went by so fast. The amount of data crunching and people skills required to complete my part of the asssessment drained my introverted energies :-)

The ASC is a great place to have a practicum. They gave me an office and treated me like I was one of the staff. They even put my name on the entrance sign on the ground level of Waldo. MD and WR are like development concentrate. My 90 hours with them was invaluable. I feel that I have a better understanding for what it takes for students to succeed in college. One of the shining moments of my practicum was the joy of a student who had received a C in Math 111. They were overjoyed and it was all because of a study table program here at OSU. I know I’m gushing, but it’s true, the ASC rocks!!!

Practicum bits

I think the verdict is in, students who attend study tables (even once) achieve higher gpa’s than their non-attending peers

It gets even better when you look at their placement scores. Study table attendees had lower placement scores than their non-attending peers yet they earned higher grades…hmmm…I think the Academic Success Center (ASC) might have a successful program on their hands ;-)

I did a lot of Data Warehouse and Excel crunching to get this data sorted out. I was chatting with W about my experience and we both agreed that it hasn’t been typical.

First, the ASC gave me a sweet office. It has high ceilings, a window, a door w/mail slot, and huge desk.

Second, W and I meet up and chat every 1.5 weeks. I’m pretty good with the self-directed stuff at this point but I do appreciate our one-on-one think tank sessions. I’m learning a lot about the joys of worthwhile assessment.

Third, the ASC is in Waldo Hall (pic 1) (pic2) and it has so much character. The building looks like a castle. Plus, the staff have been extremely accommodating. My name is actually on the building directory sign on the first floor when you enter the building. They gave me a phone and a number too!

W and M really care about student learning and they care about my practicum experience. Okay, time to stop gushing. Anyway, it’s been great. Now I am off to work on Zoology. The pre-test data for Zoology will be the fall term versus the spring term in a cage match to determine seasonal superiority. :-)


Study Table Assessment Project — MATH 111 Results

Entering Scores:
SAT Math:
Average score of students who did not attend any study table sessions: 510
Average score of students who attended at least one study table session: 491
(does not include regulars)
Average score of students who attended at least one study table session (Includes all study table attendees): 493
Average score of students who attended for 5 or more weeks: 496

Math Placement:
Average score of students who did not attend any study table sessions: 11.7
Average score of students who attended at least one study table session: 11.2
(does not include regulars)
Average score of students who attended at least one study table session (Includes all study table attendees): 10.3
Average score of students who attended for 5 or more weeks: 8.8

GPA Differences:
Average grade points (on 4 pt scale) –
Students who did not attend any study sessions: 1.88
Students who attended at least one study table session (does not include regulars): 1.94
Students who attended at least one study table session (Includes all study table attendees): 2.40
Students who attended 5 or more weeks (Regular attendees): 2.92

Total study table hours: 495
Total # of study table participants: 89
Total # of students in Math 111: 270

Note: When calculating average GPA, grades of I, S, U, and W are not included.

It slices, it dices…

DW Screenshot - No data was harmed in the making of this graphic!

Practicum update: The Data Warehouse and I are now friends. After a quick tutorial/lesson from CS, I am now a zen master of the DW. Well maybe not a master, but I at least was able to extract data for my assessment project. I successfully “pulled” student names, ID’s, grades, math placement scores, and SAT Math scores. I also extracted information from several other classes including: 2 sections of Physics, Zoology, and Economics. The DW is an amazing tool.

After gleefully using the DW for hours ;-) I then proceeded to fire up MS Excel. My practicum is a lot more fun now that I can actually start manipulating data! It is so rewarding to see, via the data, how effective the study tables have been. Several students who had low math placement/SAT Math scores did very well for their M111 grade. So let’s see, a student gets a low score on an incoming test (MP or SAT) and then attends 10 hours worth of study tables and viola — they earn a C! What happens for a student with a similar pre-test who did not attend a Study Table? Time will tell. I’ll be crunching the numbers this week. My gut tells me that students who attended Study Tables will score higher than their non-study table attending peers.

My marketing brain just checked in…what would happen if we gave the study tables a new name…something like “Grade Enhancer 5000” or “As seen on TV, do better, feel better, score better!” Just trying to add a little levity to my practicum posts :-)

Summer Practicum

I started my summer practicum a couple of weeks ago. The project is fairly simple. All I have to do is prove that the Academic Success Center’s (ASC) study tables program increases student participants’ final grades. The study table program is really unique. Student tutors are recommended and evaluated/hired by the ASC to tutor small groups of students within specific classes. Classes include: Math 111, Physics, Economics, and my personal favorite – Zoology. Each student tutor (st) attends the same classes as the students that they will tutor. The ST’s take notes and prepare a customized study table session for each class that they are a tutor for. Students then attend weekly study tables on a voluntary basis. There were 9 regular, 1 hour long study table sessions and 2 three hour long final examination study table periods.

The ASC piloted the study table program during Winter term (05). Student’s final grades were amazing. If you attended a study table, your grades improved. The neat part is that they tracked math placement scores and incoming SAT scores as pre tests and the final grades as post tests. The control group consisted of the students that did not attend any study tables.

My experience with this assessment project is really exciting because I get to see results that actually contributed to the retention of students. I’m working with MS Excel, OSU Banner, and that damn Hummingbird application, also known as the Data Warehouse. My skills are really rusty with Banner and Data Warehouse but I’m getting better. It’s frightening when you see what kind of information is collected. The databases are extremely sophisticated. My first day at the ASC, I called the Banner/Data Warehouse support number twice in 2 hours!

There will be a lot of number crunching which you know is not exactly my forte but I am still thrilled to get a solid experience within the ASC. Part of my assessment will be to interview students who were are calling “the Regulars” to see if they have anything to contribute regarding the study tables that the cold, hard numbers do not tell us.

I am well on my way to crunching/digesting the results of all the students at OSU who took Math 111. So far, I’ve run into a few data glitches but nothing that I won’t be able to figure out. I have a lot to do for each class and at this stage in the summer it is going to be a challenge to finish everything before school starts. I have all of my fingers, toes, eyes, and legs crossed. Wish me luck :-)

Learning Contract: ASC Practicum

Learning Contract
Practicum Site: Academic Success Center

Duties and Responsibilities:
The overall goal of the practicum will be to help the Academic Success Center perform an assessment of the ASC study table program. To do this, I’ll need to gather and synthesize both quantitative and qualitative data. This practicum will provide learning in the following CSSA competencies: #2 Student Development in Higher Education and #4 Assessment and Evaluation

Here are some of the specific assessment/student development activities I will be engaged in:

• Using data warehouse to gather hard data about how much study tables helped student grades. For example, to measure the effect of the Ph 203 study tables, I can predict student performance based on Ph 201 and 202 grades and then analyze whether the students in the study tables outperformed their peers with similar 201 and 202 grades. For ZOO 333, I’ll use ZOO 331 and 332; for Math 111, I’ll use SAT and math placement grades.

• Analyzing responses from the assessment survey that students in the study tables have filled out. These assessment sheets contain data measured by likert scales as well as more open-ended response questions such as the benefits of the program as well as their recommendations.

• In depth interview/follow-ups with specific students in the tables. For example, I will interview students who attended regularly and some students who did not attend regularly or dropped out of the program. Also, I’ll interview students who showed significant improvement after attending study tables regularly versus students who perhaps did not improve very much despite the study tables. These interviews will either be done by phone or email.