P480: Getting to know you: Can a one-hour orientation week survey identify students who need academic assistance?
In Summer 2012, the Natural Science and Mathematics faculty at Kalamazoo College had a series of conversations around the topic “100-level science.” Our concern was that a higher percentage of our students seemed to be struggling in introductory level courses; although, the typical yardstick for an entering class, standardized test scores, were similar to years past. We decided to administer Lawson’s Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning and collect additional survey data on the students’ scientific interests and experience, all during orientation week. The students who entered the College in 2012 have taken a number of gateway science courses, earned grades in those courses, and declared their majors. Now, two years later, we can compare classroom performance and persistence in science to the data collected during orientation week. This contribution will describe our analysis of the data and our search for which factors correlate with struggles in science. We wish to identify students in orientation week who need academic support — before any of them even set foot in their first college chemistry class.