Peer-Led Guided Inquiry in Calculus at University X

Catherine Beneteau, Gordon Fox, Xiaoying Xu, Jennifer Lewis, Kandethody Ramachandrn, Scott Campbel, John Holcomb

Abstract


This paper describes the development of a Peer-Led Guided Inquiry (PLGI) program for teaching calculus at University X. This approach grew out of a successful implementation of the POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) teaching strategy in chemistry and adaptation of the small group learning model PLTL (Peer-Led Team Learning). The developed materials used a learning cycle based on three phases of inquiry: exploration of a model, concept invention, and application. Fifty minutes of lecture in Engineering and Life Sciences Calculus were replaced by the PLGI curriculum, where students worked in groups with peer leaders as instructors. The main outcomes measured were pass and withdrawal rates for sections using this approach compared to historical and concurrent sections not using PLGI. Our results showed higher pass rates in Life Sciences Calculus (18% gain in comparison to historical sections and 8.2% gain in comparison to concurrent non-PLGI sections). In Engineering Calculus, we also saw higher pass rates for PLGI sections (18.2% gain in comparison to historical rates and 4.0% gain in comparison to concurrent non-PLGI sections). Withdrawal rates also decreased for both Life Sciences and Engineering Calculus. An analysis of gender and race indicated higher pass rates and lower withdrawal rates across genders in both types of calculus. PLGI sections showed higher pass rates for African-American students in life sciences (16.5% gain in comparison to historical sections and 8.7% gain in comparison to concurrent non-PLGI sections). The impact of PLGI for African-American students was more dramatic in Engineering Calculus (24.9% gain in comparison to historical sections and a 17.6% gain in comparison to concurrent non-PLGI sections).

Keywords


Peer-led guided inquiry; POGIL; PLTL; Calculus



JSTEM. ISSN: 1557-5284