WWC review of this study

Should students assessed as needing remedial mathematics take college-level quantitative courses instead? A randomized controlled trial.

Logue, A. W., Watanabe-Rose, M., & Douglas, D. (2016). Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    610
     Students
    , grade
    PS
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: March 2018

Academic achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Passed course

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample: STAT-WS v. EA-WS;
610 students

0.48

0.36

Yes

 
 
12
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Passed course

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample: STAT-WS v. EA;
594 students

0.48

0.31

Yes

 
 
17

Number of Non-STEM Courses Passed

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample: STAT-WS v. EA-WS;
610 students

2.19

1.67

No

 
 
10

Passed course

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample: EA-WS v. EA;
610 students

0.36

0.31

No

--

Number of STEM Courses Passed

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample: STAT-WS v. EA-WS;
610 students

0.4

0.33

No

--

Number of Non-STEM Courses Passed

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample: STAT-WS v. EA;
594 students

2.19

2

No

--

Number of STEM Courses Passed

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample: STAT-WS v. EA;
594 students

0.4

0.44

No

--

Number of STEM Courses Passed

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample: EA-WS v. EA;
610 students

0.33

0.44

No

--

Number of Non-STEM Courses Passed

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample: EA-WS v. EA;
610 students

1.67

2

No

--
Credit accumulation and persistence outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Total credits

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample: Stat-WS v. EA-WS;
610 students

20.04

14.66

Yes

 
 
14
More Outcomes

Fall-to-Fall Enrollment Persistence

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Full sample: STAT-WS v. EA-WS;
610 students

0.60

0.51

Yes

 
 
10
Show Supplemental Findings

Total credits

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample: STAT-WS v. EA;
594 students

19.93

15.53

Yes

 
 
12

Total Number of College Credits Earned, Excluding Statistics

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample: STAT-WS v. EA-WS;
610 students

18.54

14.66

Yes

 
 
11

Total Number of College Credits Earned, Excluding Statistics

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample: STAT-WS v. EA;
594 students

18.4

15.53

Yes

 
 
8

Fall-to-Fall Enrollment Persistence

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Full sample: STAT-WS v. EA;
594 students

0.60

0.55

No

--

Total credits

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample: EA-WS v. EA;
610 students

14.66

15.53

No

--

Total Number of College Credits Earned, Excluding Statistics

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

1 Year

Full sample: EA-WS v. EA;
610 students

14.66

15.53

No

--

Fall-to-Fall Enrollment Persistence

Mainstreaming vs. Business as usual

9 Months

Full sample: EA-WS v. EA;
610 students

0.51

0.55

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 55%
    Male: 45%

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    New York

Setting

The study was conducted at three City University of New York (CUNY) community colleges, one in each of three NYC boroughs: the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan.

Study sample

Across all three groups, 55% of students were female (55% in Stat-WS, 58% in EA-WS, and 51% in EA), and 86% of students were underrepresented minorities (84% in Stat-WS, 88% in EA-WS, and 87% in EA). In each of the three groups, the majority of students (56%) reported that their first language was English. The average age of study participants was 21 years old.

Intervention Group

The intervention (Stat-WS) was a mainstream, credit-bearing, college-level introductory statistics course (Stat-WS), delivered in the fall of 2013. Course topics included probability, binomial probability distributions, normal distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. The course was held over one semester and lasted between 3 and 6 hours per week, depending on the college. The course required students to attend a two-hour workshop every week for supplemental instruction on statistical concepts and problems. The workshops had three components: (1) 10-15 minutes of reflection on concepts learned so far and what was difficult; (2) about 100 minutes of individual and group work on difficult topics and problems, and (3) a final five minutes of reflection on whether the difficult issues were addressed or not. The 24 class sections that included workshops were taught by 21 workshop leaders, who were either advanced undergraduates or recent graduates of CUNY.

Comparison Group

The primary comparison group was a traditional non-credit-bearing remedial algebra course that included supplemental weekly workshops (EA-WS). The course covered topics such as linear equations, exponents, polynomials, and quadratic equations. Students in both comparison groups took the mandatory CUNY-wide elementary final and received their grade based on a CUNY-wide elementary algebra-grading rubric. The weekly workshops delivered to the EA-WS group followed the same three-component structure implemented for the workshops in the intervention group.

Support for implementation

Instructors attended a six-hour orientation workshop, met monthly with researchers, and met weekly with the workshop leaders assigned to their two sections (Stat-WS and EA-WS). The study’s 21 workshop leaders completed 10 hours of training focused on the details of the study as well as methods for conducting the workshops. Workshop leaders also met monthly with the researchers to discuss concerns and other issues as needed.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Logue, A. W., Watanabe-Rose, M., & Douglas, D. (2015, April). Elementary algebra or statistics: A randomized controlled trial with students assessed as needing remedial mathematics. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.

 

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