Credentials Display

Ryan D. Sweeder1, Merve N. Kursav2, Samantha M. F. Cass1, Rebecca L. Matz3

1Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University
Program in Mathematics Education, Michigan State University
Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology, Michigan State University


College transition, Graduation rate, Low mathematics preparation, Program assessment, STEM retention


As a residential college within Michigan State University that focuses on STEM fields, Lyman Briggs College developed a STEM learning community to support students with low mathematics placement test scores, the Instilling Quantitative and Integrative Reasoning program (INQUIRE). INQUIRE serves some of those students considered historically at-risk based on STEM retention and graduation rates. INQUIRE was developed as learning community using curricular design, cohort-building activities, and academic resources to assist students’ transition to college. Participating students were surveyed to understand the student experience of INQUIRE. Students’ responses indicated that the program helped them adjust to college, prepare for introductory STEM courses, collaborate with other students and faculty, and experience academic and personal growth. A few students (4%) stated that the program put them behind their peers. Quantitatively, four-year STEM retention showed an increase from 43 to 56% for students starting in college-level algebra but remained statistically unchanged for those beginning in pre-college algebra (moving from 31 to 37%). The six-year graduation rates for both groups remained unchanged. These results indicate the difficulty in improving the graduation rates of students with low mathematics placement but indicate that INQUIRE made a positive and meaningful impact on students’ experience.