Concepts Most Successfully Learned and Most Challenging to Students in a Redesigned Pre-Calculus Course

Angel Perez, Ha Nguyen
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Pre-Calculus is considered one of many gate-keeper courses for STEM college students (Viera Jr et al., 2019). To better support students in Pre-Calculus, various college-level institutions have redesigned their Pre-Calculus courses to address learning challenges and inequities faced by students. For instance, Jones & Lanaghan (2021) redesigned the Pre-Calculus course to incorporate a standards-based grading system, active learning practices among students, and emphasis on developing a growth mindset. Students in their redesigned Pre-Calculus course passed the class at a higher rate than those enrolled in the traditional Pre-Calculus course, with a difference of 38.3% higher. Additionally, students in the redesigned Pre-Calculus course passed their Calculus I course at a higher rate, with a difference of 3.1% higher. Despite the overall improvement and encouraging outcomes to the course, further learning challenges still need to be addressed. This study seeks to answer the following research questions: 1) What concepts are most successfully learned by students in a redesigned Pre-Calculus course? 2) What concepts are most challenging to students in a redesigned Pre-Calculus course? Data from 59 students enrolled in all sections of a redesigned Pre-Calculus course in Spring 2023 were analyzed quantitatively, using descriptive statistics. Discussion, limitations, and future research for teaching will also be shared.


Pre-Calculus, Active Learning, Gatekeeper, Redesigned Pre-Calculus

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Perez, A. & Nguyen, H. (2024). Concepts most successfully learned and most challenging to students in a redesigned pre-calculus course. International Journal on Studies in Education (IJonSE), 6(1), 177-190.



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International Journal on Studies in Education (IJonSE) - ISSN: 2690-7909

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