Evaluation of Delaware Tech's emporium program for developmental math students

Patson, Lauren
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University of Delaware
The emporium model has recently been adopted by several colleges throughout the country in order to improve their math programs, and literature reports that these colleges experienced an increase in learning and a decrease in costs. As a result, Delaware Technical Community College decided to redesign its developmental mathematics courses based on this model in the hopes that their students will benefit. The purpose of this study is to determine the success of Delaware Tech's emporium program, the effectiveness of particular program features, and the patterns withdrawal (WU) students exhibit in order to provide recommendations for improvement. The main research questions for this study are: 1. How successful is the emporium program as compared to the pre-emporium program? 2. What do emporium students identify as program features that promote or hinder their progress through their developmental math courses? 3. What patterns do WU students exhibit in the emporium program? To answer the first question, pass rates of emporium and pre-emporium students were calculated and a chi-square analysis was performed. The results showed that emporium students had significantly lower pass rates than pre-emporium students for developmental courses. For the second question on program features, survey responses were analyzed and means and standard deviations were calculated. Then, ANOVA and t-tests were performed on demographic items to determine if results varied for different groups. In addition, open-ended items in the survey were coded to identify recurring themes. Results showed emporium students felt that, overall, the program features encouraged them to keep working, with MyLabsPlus and participation points being the most encouraging and the Math Success Center and the videos and workbooks being the least. Age, number of hours worked outside of school, and part-time or full-time status seemed to have no effect on responses. Finally, data from existing student records, scanner data from the Math Success Center, and log in data from MyLabsPlus were analyzed to determine patterns of WU students. Points where students typically stopped attending the Math Success Center and stopped working on MyLabsPlus were identified, and the average number of hours spent in the Math Success Center each week was calculated. Results showed that WU students tended to spend less time in the Math Success Center right from the start, and they tended to stop working on MyLabsPlus near the beginning and in the middle of the course. Implications of these findings are discussed and eight recommendations for improvement are made.