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FERNANDO GILBES SANTAELLA ASSESSMENT COORDINATOR UPRM-DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY

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Objectives of this Assessment It was focused on the mathematics learning of the Geology students. The collected data was used to evaluate the performance and attitude of our students in the mathematics courses. This will provide the required information for improving the curriculum. This is part of the overall process that we have started to evaluate how the curriculum is matching with the Geology student profile.

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Justification of this Assessment Every undergraduate student in Geology has to take four courses in mathematics; they are: Mate 3171 (Pre-Calculus I), Mate 3172 (Pre-Calculus II), Mate 3031 (Calculus I), and Mate 3032 (Calculus II). However, it is well known that our students have serious problems with these courses. In many cases they have to repeat the mathematics several times, and some of them take longer to graduate because to these courses.

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Justification of this Assessment It is not clear the reasons for this common problem; but some possibilities include: a weak background from high school, lack of motivation, structure of the courses, or a combination of these several factors. In order to modify our curriculum and help our students with the mathematics it is very important to identify the source of the problems.

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Assessed Population A questionnaire and a test were submitted to Geology undergraduate students at different levels of studies, from freshmen to seniors. (Around 25% of the entire population.) Professors were also consulted in order to compare with students results. (Around 90% of the entire faculty)

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Pre-Intervention: These data were gathered in collaboration with the “Oficina de Investigación Institucional y Planificación (OIIP)”.

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College Board Results for Geology Students

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College Board Results by Faculty

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Pre-Intervention:

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Per cent (%) of students that have repeated Math courses OnceTwiceTotal Pre-Calculus I Pre-Calculus II Calculus I Calculus II Seniors Freshmen: 20% have already repeated Pre-Calculus I

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Pre-Intervention:

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Per cent (%) of people considering that Mathematics is important in Geology

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Per cent (%) of people that like Math

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Per cent (%) of people considering that are good in Mathematics

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Per cent (%) of people feeling phobia toward Mathematics

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Per cent (%) of people feeling anxiety toward Mathematics

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Reasons for having problems with Mathematics Freshmen Seniors Professors HighLowHighLowHighLow No Background in Math No Background in Engineering Wrong Math for Geologists

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Per cent (%) of people thinking that a new Math course for Geology is needed

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Intervention:

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Knowledge in Mathematics The actual knowledge of the Geology students in mathematical skills was intended to be determined in the spring semester of 2008 using a Math test. It consisted of three geology questions where they have to apply from simple to complex mathematical concepts.

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Knowledge in Mathematics The students did not take seriously this test and most of them did not answer the questions. It was not possible to collect representative data to reach good conclusions. A new test and/or strategy must be developed to know the actual knowledge.

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Post-Intervention:

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Recommendations After completion the activities it is recommended the following steps: Give suggestions to the curriculum committee in order to select the most appropriate mathematics courses for the Geology students. And/or modify some Geology courses to complement with the required mathematical skills.

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Acknowledgements The collaboration of Drs. Hernan Santos and Wilson Ramirez in preparing the math test and getting students data is highly appreciated. Also, the participation of the Geology faculty in answering the questionnaire was very important. Finally, thanks to the students!

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Thank you!

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