skip to main content

Title: Applying Performance Pyramid Model in STEM Education through Peer-led Learning Communities
While many studies have demonstrated the efficacy of programs designed to increase underrepresented minority participation, this article establishes a guiding theoretical model which examines why such programs might work. Theoretical models are often used to support curricular innovation by specifying guidelines for how to design new programs intended to broaden participation in STEM. The theoretical model of the Performance Pyramid was used as the foundation to develop intrusive Peer Partnership Learning (PPL) communities and develop a measure of student needs. The PPL communities were designed for students to simultaneously take College Algebra and General Biology I and involved weekly sessions led by trained PPL leaders to reinforce course content and work on biology projects with imbedded math content. The augmented SSNS (SSNS-A) was developed to measures these students needs that are directly related to the Performance Pyramid constructs. In addition, other outcomes measures were selected to identify, analyze and address the barriers to student performance in both courses related to the seven support systems of the Performance Pyramid. This theory-based program was developed to (a) advance and test pedagogical linkages between biological and mathematical concepts; (b) improve, test, and refine the assessment instruments, and (c) test the acceptability and efficacy of a fully integrated biology-math curriculum on student performance and attitudes.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
International journal of innovation and research in educational sciences
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    The purpose of this paper was to give a demonstration of the primary materials and methods we used in learning communities (LCs) for biology students. The LCs were based on the performance pyramid theoretical structure. The objectives were to show the pedagogical links biological and mathematical concepts through co-curricular projects; assess students’ perceptions of the performance pyramid model, and demonstrate a method for assessing LC efficacy directly related to General Biology I and College Algebra course content. Forty-eight students were recruited into the LCs with 39 students completing the LCs. The participants completed co-curricular projects that linked biology and mathematics course content with guidance from a peer leader. The LC participants completed the Augmented Student Support Needs Scale (SSNS-A) to assess perceptions of performance pyramid elements, as well as separate biology and mathematics quizzes related to their General Biology I and College Algebra courses, respectively. It was found that all co-curricular projects had biology and mathematics learning objective and outcomes. The SSNS-A had adequate internal consistency for appraising multiple aspects of the performance pyramid in general. However, some aspects and student responses might need more clarification. The quizzes had adequate internal consistency and LC students had large gains in biology (d = 1.88) and mathematics (d = 2.62) knowledge and skills from the beginning to end of their General Biology I and College Algebra courses. Promising aspects and limitations the LC activities and assessments are discussed. 
    more » « less
  2. There is little research or understanding of curricular differences between two- and four-year programs, career development of engineering technology (ET) students, and professional preparation for ET early career professionals [1]. Yet, ET credentials (including certificates, two-, and four-year degrees) represent over half of all engineering credentials awarded in the U.S [2]. ET professionals are important hands-on members of engineering teams who have specialized knowledge of components and engineering systems. This research study focuses on how career orientations affect engineering formation of ET students educated at two-year colleges. The theoretical framework guiding this study is Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT). SCCT is a theory which situates attitudes, interests, and experiences and links self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, and personal goals to educational and career decisions and outcomes [3]. Student knowledge of attitudes toward and motivation to pursue STEM and engineering education can impact academic performance and indicate future career interest and participation in the STEM workforce [4]. This knowledge may be measured through career orientations or career anchors. A career anchor is a combination of self-concept characteristics which includes talents, skills, abilities, motives, needs, attitudes, and values. Career anchors can develop over time and aid in shaping personal and career identity [6]. The purpose of this quantitative research study is to identify dimensions of career orientations and anchors at various educational stages to map to ET career pathways. The research question this study aims to answer is: For students educated in two-year college ET programs, how do the different dimensions of career orientations, at various phases of professional preparation, impact experiences and development of professional profiles and pathways? The participants (n=308) in this study represent three different groups: (1) students in engineering technology related programs from a medium rural-serving technical college (n=136), (2) students in engineering technology related programs from a large urban-serving technical college (n=52), and (3) engineering students at a medium Research 1 university who have transferred from a two-year college (n=120). All participants completed Schein’s Career Anchor Inventory [5]. This instrument contains 40 six-point Likert-scale items with eight subscales which correlate to the eight different career anchors. Additional demographic questions were also included. The data analysis includes graphical displays for data visualization and exploration, descriptive statistics for summarizing trends in the sample data, and then inferential statistics for determining statistical significance. This analysis examines career anchor results across groups by institution, major, demographics, types of educational experiences, types of work experiences, and career influences. This cross-group analysis aids in the development of profiles of values, talents, abilities, and motives to support customized career development tailored specifically for ET students. These findings contribute research to a gap in ET and two-year college engineering education research. Practical implications include use of findings to create career pathways mapped to career anchors, integration of career development tools into two-year college curricula and programs, greater support for career counselors, and creation of alternate and more diverse pathways into engineering. Words: 489 References [1] National Academy of Engineering. (2016). Engineering technology education in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. [2] The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, (IPEDS). (2014). Data on engineering technology degrees. [3] Lent, R.W., & Brown, S.B. (1996). Social cognitive approach to career development: An overivew. Career Development Quarterly, 44, 310-321. [4] Unfried, A., Faber, M., Stanhope, D.S., Wiebe, E. (2015). The development and validation of a measure of student attitudes toward science, technology, engineeirng, and math (S-STEM). Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 33(7), 622-639. [5] Schein, E. (1996). Career anchors revisited: Implications for career development in the 21st century. Academy of Management Executive, 10(4), 80-88. [6] Schein, E.H., & Van Maanen, J. (2013). Career Anchors, 4th ed. San Francisco: Wiley. 
    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
    The purpose of this study was to evaluate the preliminary outcomes of a learning community intervention (LC), which was based on the performance pyramid theoretical model of student supports. The LC integrated college algebra into biology course work. We used a quasi-experimental design to compare LC students to separate General Biology I and College Algebra course control groups on respective measures of biology and algebra course knowledge, and an assessment of perceived performance pyramid supports. Participants included 198 students (LC, n = 22; biology control, n = 52; mathematics control, n = 124) at a Historically Black University in the Southern United States. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) indicated that the LC students had significantly greater performance from pre- to post-test on a measure of biology course knowledge (Cohen’s d = 0.76) compared to the biology control group. An ANCOVA indicated that the LC and mathematics control students performed similarly on a measure of algebra course knowledge. Group differences from a multivariate analysis of covariance on perceived performance pyramid supports were mostly statistically non-significant. Overall, the LC increased biology course performance. Implications for improving biology course performance and better assessment of students’ perceptions of support for academic success are discussed. 
    more » « less
  4. Wright College, an open-access community college in northwest Chicago, is an independently accredited institution in the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) system. Wright is federally recognized Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) with the largest enrollment of Hispanic students in Illinois. In 2015 Wright piloted a selective guaranteed admission program to the Grainer College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Students in the Engineering Pathways (EP) program follow a cohort system with rigorous curriculum aligned to UIUC. From this pilot Wright built programmatic frameworks (one-stop intentional advising; mandatory tutoring, near-peer, faculty and professional mentoring; and access to professional organizations) to support EP students. Initial results were positive: 89% transfer rate and 89% bachelor’s degree completion. Building from the EP frameworks, Wright obtained a National Science Foundation (NSF) HSI research grant to expand programs to non-pathway students. Through the grant, Building Bridges into Engineering and Computer Science, the college developed assessment tools, increased the number of 4-year partnerships, and designed and implemented an Engineering Summer Bridge with curriculum contextualized for the needs of the Near-STEM ready students. These students need one to four semesters of Math remediation before moving into the EP. The college measured the Bridge participants' success through analysis of Math proficiency before and after the Bridge, professional identity (sense of belonging) and self-efficacy (the belief that the students will succeed as engineers). Surveys and case study interviews are being supplemented with retention, persistence, transfer, associate and bachelor degree completion rates, and time for degree completion. The key research question is the correlation of these data with self-efficacy and professional identity measures. Preliminary Results: 1) Sixty percent (60%) of the Bridge participants eliminated the remedial Math requirement completely. (Increased Math proficiency) 2) Engineering admission and enrollment doubled. 4) Increased institutionalized collaborations: the creation of a more programmatic admission, advising, transfer, rigorous curriculum, and other student support services within the College. 5) Increased partnerships with 4-year transfer institutions resulting in the expansion of guaranteed/dual admissions programs with scholarships, paid research experience, dual advising, and students transferring as juniors. 5) Increased diversity in Engineering and Computer Science student population. Wright will share an overview of the Building Bridges into Engineering and Computer Science project, research design, expanded practices, assessments and insights from the development and implementation of this program. The developed frameworks will be applied to provide ALL students at Wright, and at CCC equitable Engineering and Computer Science education. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    The authors completed a pilot study to examine the original Student Support Needs Scale (SSNS') and alternative forms. They assessed how the items were related to each other, how SSNS versions correlated with each other, and the SSNS versions associations with measures of student attitudes and performance. Eighty students from a historically Black college and university participated. SSNS 10-item- and 5-item-per-scale form s were created. They were compared with the original, to each other, and to other measures. The coefficients related to how items related to each other indicated that the alternative form s had similar to better correspondence between related items than the original scales. The 5-item-per-scale version was used as the augmented SSNS (SSNS-A). SSNS-A correlations with measures o f student attitudes and performance were generally in the expected direction. Implications are discussed in regard to reliability and validity of the SSNS-A. 
    more » « less