Academic Commons

Theses Doctoral

Motivation and Study Habits of College Calculus Students: Does Studying Calculus in High School Make a Difference?

Gibson, Megan E.

Due in part to the growing popularity of the Advanced Placement program, an increasingly large percentage of entering college students are enrolling in calculus courses having already taken calculus in high school. Many students do not score high enough on the AP calculus examination to place out of Calculus I, and many do not take the examination. These students take Calculus I in college having already seen most or all of the material. Students at two colleges were surveyed to determine whether prior calculus experience has an effect on these students' effort levels or motivation. Students who took calculus in high school did not spend as much time on their calculus coursework as those who did not take calculus, but they were just as motivated to do well in the class and they did not miss class any more frequently. Prior calculus experience was not found to have a negative effect on student motivation or effort. Colleges should work to ensure that all students with prior calculus experience receive the best possible placement, and consider making a separate course for these students, if it is practical to do so.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics Education
Thesis Advisors
Vogeli, Bruce R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 1, 2014