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ERIC Number: EJ1210876
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1557-5284
An Explorations Approach to Summer Bridge at a Selective Liberal Arts College: One Path toward Equalizing Student Success
Swift, Michael C.; Bowers, Lisa; McDonald, Eric; Walter, Anne
Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, v19 n5 p46-64 Jan-Mar 2019
St. Olaf College recently restructured its Summer Bridge Program (SBP) course for incoming low-income (LI) and first-generation (FG) college students from a non-major biology course, "Issues in Biology," to an interdisciplinary "Explorations in Science" course. Two significant changes were made with the intention of giving students more agency as scholars: a) lab-based research projects vs. library projects and b) explicitly taught quantitative skills. Both courses used a coherent theme, outside readings and provided opportunities to practice study and exam taking skills. Here we describe the "Explorations" course in detail and compare the outcomes of its first two offerings to those of the original "Issues" class. Both SBP cohorts were compared to students who were neither LI nor FG. We learned that global outcomes such as average retention rate and major selection were not affected by the new format. However, students in "Explorations" mastered more quantitative skills, succeeded in their independent lab research and met higher cognitive skills on exams while tending toward higher grades. Students in the updated SBP course met our learning goals preparing them to apply critical thinking, writing and analytical reasoning skills as learning tools in subsequent classes.
Institute for STEM Education and Research. P.O. Box 4001, Auburn, AL 36831. Tel: 334-844-3360; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota