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What Students Know and What They Don't Know - Course Technology Computing Conference
Presenter: Cheryl Reindl-Johnson, Jennifer Day & Jennifer Romero, Sinclair Community College
We have been hearing for years that our jobs will be obsolete as students enter college knowing more about computers than their college faculty members know. At Sinclair Community College we have NOT found that to be the case. In fact, we have struggled with success and retention rates in our Computer Concepts and Applications course. We offer roughly 80 sections of our BIS 1120 Computer Concepts and Applications course each semester, enrolling approximately 4,000 students per year. We realize that there are myriad reasons why students are not successful in a course, but to begin to find a solution to address low success and retention rates in this high enrollment course, we felt we needed to do some analysis of our student population. We are using SAM to administer a pre-test to all students enrolled in a section of the course during the second week of the semester, so that we can better analyze student knowledge of the material when they arrive in our classes, and collect information on student mastery of the material at the end of the semester using the same content in a post-test. SAM's reporting features allow us to analyze section level results to compare: Day classes that tend to include more “traditional” students who are straight out of high school, to evening classes which tend to include more non-traditional students; Face-to-face to online sections; Full semester classes to 12-week or 8-week sections; Sections taught by full-time faculty versus adjunct faculty. When the pre-test and post-test are scheduled by our SAM faculty administrator, we can also analyze the data at the question level (frequency analysis) across all sections to examine: What content most students (70% or more) come to the class knowing (specific skills that are used across applications and groups of skills by application); What content most students do not know when they begin the class; What content most students struggle with at the end of the class.