Using a competency-based instructional approach in thermodynamics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Many engineering classes are highly sequential, causing students that fail to grasp initial topics to struggle as courses progress. Despite instructor exhortations to master fundamental subjects, students often continue to struggle instead of investing the time to review. Because students do not proactively re-learn initial content, a competency-based approach was implemented in a highly sequential thermodynamics course. In the approach, students scoring below 80% on the first exam were required to pass an online review quiz in order to take subsequent exams. Only 3 out of 135 students were unable to take the second exam, but all were able to pass by the time of the third exam. Significant increases (p<0.01) were achieved in both the average course grade and average grade on the third (final) exam as compared to the previous offering of the course, with the average grade on the final exam rising from 66.5% to 74.0% and the overall course grade rising from 76.2% to 83.2%. The competency-based structure forced students to review fundamental material that is necessary both later within a course and in subsequent courses, and seems to particularly benefit the poorer performing students. This may have impacts on student retention and persistence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
Pages957-959
Number of pages3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Event43rd IEEE Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2013 - Oklahoma City, OK, United States
Duration: Oct 23 2013Oct 26 2013

Other

Other43rd IEEE Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2013
CountryUnited States
CityOklahoma City, OK
Period10/23/1310/26/13

Fingerprint

Thermodynamics
Students
student
quiz
persistence
instructor
engineering
time

Keywords

  • Competency
  • Persistence
  • Student success

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software
  • Education

Cite this

Nelson, B. A. (2013). Using a competency-based instructional approach in thermodynamics. In Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE (pp. 957-959). [6684969] https://doi.org/10.1109/FIE.2013.6684969

Using a competency-based instructional approach in thermodynamics. / Nelson, Brent A.

Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE. 2013. p. 957-959 6684969.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Nelson, BA 2013, Using a competency-based instructional approach in thermodynamics. in Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE., 6684969, pp. 957-959, 43rd IEEE Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2013, Oklahoma City, OK, United States, 10/23/13. https://doi.org/10.1109/FIE.2013.6684969
Nelson BA. Using a competency-based instructional approach in thermodynamics. In Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE. 2013. p. 957-959. 6684969 https://doi.org/10.1109/FIE.2013.6684969
Nelson, Brent A. / Using a competency-based instructional approach in thermodynamics. Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE. 2013. pp. 957-959
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