HLC Self Study
Chapter 6 Graphic

Math Common Exam Questions

Estrella Mountain math faculty introduced a pilot in spring 2007 to assess student learning with common final exam questions in select MAT091, MAT092, MAT121, and MAT151 sections. A primary goal included collaborative consideration in using common finals for these math courses. The fall 2010 assessment represented the eighth administration of this project.  Evidence obtained through evaluation demonstrates that there are benefits, including the continuous assessment of student performance and the establishment of benchmarks for comparisons over time.


Chemistry 130 (CHM130) is the chemistry course required for students who are interested in nursing and/or plan to take Chemistry 150 for pre-professional tracks. Estrella Mountain faculty believe that students struggle in the course because the MAT092 pre-requisite for CHM130 does not provide sufficient preparation. Students also struggle with challenging course concepts that require enhanced cognitive abilities and extensive studying. Due to low success rates for students in CHM130, active learning was implemented over two years ago as a way to emphasize conceptual learning. Students do not use a textbook; instead they are given a packet and journal at the beginning of the semester to create their own reference material. The pedagogy relies on students working in groups in every session, comparing answers with other groups and relying on peer feedback for answers and methods to solve problems. The instructor serves mainly as a facilitator and minimally as a lecturer. Both residential and adjunct faculty members are trained to teach with this pedagogy. As a result of the new active learning strategies, preliminary data suggests that students are retained longer in the course. Success is increasing, as Figure 48 indicates, and faculty members hope this trend will continue.

Figure 48