PREVIOUS GSU QEPs
Grambling State University’s (GSU) Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) stems from one of the university’s biggest challenges – the need to improve mathematical knowledge and skills. After a comprehensive needs assessment and feedback from a broad base of constituent groups, the university selected “The Improvement of Mathematical Skills and Knowledge” as its QEP topic. The selected topic arose from a five-year analysis of Rising Junior Examination data, students’ performance in English and mathematics courses, and ACT/SAT scores. This analysis clearly indicated that the weakest link in student learning at GSU is a poor mathematical foundation. Therefore, GSU has chosen to focus on improving mathematics instruction by adopting novel curricular, instructional, and assessment strategies in selected general education courses. The Leadership Team formed a diversified Quality Enhancement Plan Team to develop the QEP. Throughout the development process, team members sought input from faculty and students and promoted understanding of the QEP’s long term impact on student learning. The purpose of GSU’s QEP is to improve the mathematical skills and knowledge of all students irrespective of their majors; therefore, it targets the entire student population. This purpose will be achieved through two goals:
The first goal incorporates six student learning outcomes (SLOs) and aims to provide theoretical foundations in general mathematics. The second goal incorporates three SLOs and aims to develop students’ problem solving skills. In addition to two pre-calculus courses, the QEP also includes a quantitative approach to teaching courses in non-mathematics areas. Upon review of the literature coupled with the experiences gained from successful programs at GSU, the QEP Team has identified a number of strategies for implementation. Activities that help in building a firm foundation for the implementation of the QEP include but not limited to; curricular changes, continuous monitoring of student progress, peer tutoring, and reduction of class size. New pedagogical methods include interdisciplinary approach to teaching mathematics, use of technology, mathematics through writing, and process-oriented guided-inquiry learning. The plan also contains faculty development and student seminars.
The QEP includes a comprehensive assessment plan. Both formative and summative assessments will be done, using multiple instruments, for continuous monitoring. Quantitative and qualitative data will be collected. In addition to monitoring the progress of SLOs, the process will also monitor the effectiveness of new teaching methods. The QEP timeline includes a six-year period. In 2010-11 preparations will be made for implementation of the QEP in the Fall of 2011. Courses and teaching methods included in the QEP (Table 6.4) will be implemented in phases. An Advisory Board will perform the overall evaluation and relate it to institutional effectiveness. The university has committed adequate resources (Table 7.4) for successful implementation. The QEP will generate measurable improvement in students’ understanding of mathematical concepts and in their abilities to solve real world problems. Consequently, an increase in pass rates on the Rising Junior Examination and in pre-calculus courses is expected.