Evaluation of an Intervention Designed to Improve College Students STEM Outcomes

The issue: Although the percentage of U.S. adults with post-secondary degrees is increasing, many individuals never finish college. First-generation college students, students of color, economically disadvantaged individuals, and those working are at risk of not completing degrees despite dedicating years of effort and resources into the pursuit.

Furthermore, marginal math preparation can hinder college completion or discourage students from pursuing a major in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). To address the disparities in education, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) launched the “First in the World” initiative to help foster the development and proliferation of interventions that help postsecondary students succeed.

Our contribution to the solution: Aware of these challenges, Bryn Mawr College designed a blended learning intervention to help students understand the fundamental mathematics required in introductory-level STEM courses without prolonging their time to degree. We supported Bryn Mawr by developing and implementing a rigorous evaluation following the highest educational research guidelines advocated by ED. Evidence from the evaluation has allowed us to provide in-depth feedback to Bryn Mawr about the experiences of students who do or do not participate in the intervention, collect information from Bryn Mawr’s many partner institutions, and measure the fidelity of implementation across the study sites.