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IES Grant

Title: Enhancing Self-Reflection and Mathematics Achievement of At-Risk Students at an Urban Technical College: A Self-Regulated Learning Intervention
Center: NCER Year: 2006
Principal Investigator: Zimmerman, Barry Awardee: City University of New York (CUNY)
Program: Cognition and Student Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years Award Amount: $482,496
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305H060018

Purpose: Educators in the United States are troubled by the low levels of math achievement among at-risk students. Typically, interventions designed to help such students have focused on remedial teaching of academic content or study skills. However, there is little evidence that these programs prepare students to attain their academic goals in a self-sufficient fashion. What is missing from these intervention programs is training in self-regulated learning skills so that students can orient their thinking, feelings, behaviors, and strategies more effectively. The purpose of this two-year program is to investigate the potential of self-regulated learning instruction to enhance the self-reflection processes and math achievement of college students who are at-risk for failure.

Project Activities: Across four semesters, 120 at-risk students will be randomly assigned to either a self-regulated learning section or a traditional learning section in a remedial or college-level math course. The intervention, recently designed and piloted by the researchers, will involve teacher demonstration of coping techniques, and exercises designed to encourage self-efficacy, self-evaluation, and self-reflection processes. It is hypothesized that, compared to students receiving traditional math instruction, students receiving the intervention will show higher self-efficacy beliefs, more accurate self-evaluation judgments, higher math achievement, and greater resilience in subsequent semesters. Overall, the researchers intend to demonstrate that students can respond to their academic grades as sources of self-regulated learning rather than as indices of personal limitation.

Products: The products from this study include an instructional program to improve the performance of high-risk students taking college math classes, and published reports.

Structured Abstract

Setting: Students will be enrolled in the New York City College of Technology (NYCCT), the bi-level technical college for the City University of New York.

Population: Participants will be 480 students in remedial and college-level mathematics courses at NYCCT. NYCCT has an enrollment of over 12,000 students, 90% of whom are members of minority groups. The first year attrition rate of first time, full time, associate degree freshmen at NYCCT averaged 40% over the last eight years.

Intervention: The goal of this program is to help at-risk students in an urban technical college improve their mathematics performance by improving their self-regulation, with particular attention to self-reflection processes. The intervention, recently designed and piloted by the researchers, will involve teacher demonstration of coping techniques, and exercises designed to encourage self-efficacy, self-evaluation, and self-reflection processes. In particular, students receiving the intervention will be given opportunities to improve their math quiz scores by engaging in a self-regulation learning guided revision process that allows them to correct wrong answers. In addition, because traditional grades seldom provide much adaptive help to students and often trigger counterproductive defensive reactions, the researchers will provide the intervention students with the self-regulated learning Math Reflection Form, which provides students with alternative feedback and opportunities for self-assessment. Finally, intervention instructors will orient students to focus on error detection and correction by giving small groups of students incorrectly solved problems, and asking them to find the errors and then articulate appropriate strategies to correctly solve the problem.

Research Design and Methods: During each of the program's four semesters, there will be two sections of remedial (one control, that is traditional learning, and one self-regulated learning), and two sections of college level math (one control, one self-regulated learning). Different instructors will teach the different sections each semester. Students will be randomly assigned to either control or self-regulated learning conditions. Students in the two groups will be compared on a variety of examination- and course-related self-regulatory processes including self-efficacy, self-evaluation, self-satisfaction, and learning strategy use.

Control Condition: Students in the control sections will receive traditional remedial or college-level math instruction.

Key Measures: Students will receive content quizzes and in-class math exams during the course of the semester. In addition, students in all conditions will take a required university exam both pre- and posttest that measures math achievement. Both pre- and posttest, all students will complete scales measuring self-satisfaction, self-regulated strategies, and a final examination self-efficacy scale.

Data Analytic Strategy: Analyses will be conducted that take the nested structure of the data into account.


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Zimmerman, B.J., Moylan, A., Hudesman, J., White, N., and Flugman, B. (2011). Enhancing Self-Reflection and Mathematics Achievement of At-Risk Urban Technical College Students. Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling, 53(1): 141–160.