Effects on Students' Self-Efficacy in a Mathematics Bridge Program
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Many beginning college students have historically struggled with both developmental and college-level mathematics. This study investigated whether students’ self-efficacy for accomplishing mathematics tasks was increased after participating in a mathematics bridge program. The study also explored whether students gained more self-efficacy as a result of participating in an enhanced intervention designed to increase mathematics self-efficacy. Participants included 246 community college students placed into a developmental mathematics course and subsequently enrolled in the college’s mathematics bridge program. The bridge program was designed to provide a one-week review session on high school mathematics topics with the goal of students placing into higher-level courses at the end of the session. A survey measuring mathematics self-efficacy was administered to participants both at the beginning and at the end of the bridge program in order to measure the change in math self-efficacy for each participant. The subsequent statistical analysis included a two-way mixed ANOVA focusing on effects of time, group (traditional intervention group or enhanced intervention group), and first-generation student status (first-generation, continuing-generation, or unknown) to examine if students experienced an increase in self-efficacy upon completion of the bridge program. Students provided open-ended responses to the question, “What did you find most helpful about the Math Refresher course?” A content analysis determined the themes that emerged from the data. Students had a significant increase in self-efficacy (p<.01) after participating in the bridge program and there was a significant interaction effect between time and first-generation status (p=.032), with continuing-generation students having a slightly higher increase in self-efficacy. The study contributes to the literature on college readiness and best practices for supporting developmental students.