Ohio University Chillicothe’s Dr. Dywayne Nicely recently received the 2017 Association for University Regional Campuses of Ohio (AURCO) Journal Editor’s Choice award for his paper titled, “Implementing a Supplemental Instruction Program for Introductory Statistics at a Regional Campus.”
While the title to his paper may be lengthy, what his research showed was an increase in students’ grades while using supplemental instruction (SI) in a high-risk course such as statistics.
The International Center of Supplemental Instruction at the University of Missouri-Kansas City describes Supplemental Instruction as a non-remedial approach that targets “high-risk courses” rather than “high-risk students.”
Introductory Statistics has long been categorized as a high-risk course on the Chillicothe campus due to students having difficulties completing it. Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, Nicely, with the help and encouragement of OUC Supplemental Instructor coordinator Debra Nickles and SI leader David Felty, implemented SI for his introductory statistic course and began conducting his research to support the effectiveness of the program with anecdotal evidence.
For his research, Nicely studied the data from weekly SI sessions with the students and SI leader who conducted the sessions. This student leader needed to be competent in the subject area and serves as a critical component of a successful program.
What his paper found was that students who regularly participated in the SI sessions performed better than students who occasionally participated or did not participate.
Nicely noted, “There have been success stories after the timeframe that is covered in the paper. Many students got well-earned C’s and even D’s that enabled them to pass the course and I think that is thanks to SI. I really feel that it would have been very difficult for them to do so if they hadn’t. I remember one student who was thrilled with a D in the course, and rightly so. That D helped her graduate. There are also students who have improved their grades (B to B+ and even B’s to A’s) through taking advantage of the SI program. But I’m more delighted with those well-earned C’s and D’s, to be honest with you, because those students would have had to retake the course otherwise.”
Up until this year, Nicely was utilizing the SI program for his course. Due to the demand for quality SI leaders and the complexities of a regional campus student body makeup, he was unable to find a SI leader for this year, as his researched had denoted as a potential downfall.
“I mention this in the paper that this is a major difficulty in general but it’s compounded on a regional campus,” he said. “The pool for potential SI leaders is small and even more so at a regional campus.”
He mentioned receiving the award was an honor, especially considering this year’s Journal had the lowest acceptance rate for its publication.
“It means a great deal,” he said. “AURCO represents all of the 24 regional campuses in the state of Ohio and for my paper to be selected as the best from this year’s submissions was a real honor.”
He also hopes that others will see the positive results of the implementation of a SI program.
“I’d hope that they [other researchers] would improve on what we did with their own research,” he said. “I’d love to see research that showed positive results through grade improvement and a reduction in the amount of withdrawals at a regional campus.”
Nicely is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and teaches eight different math courses at OUC. He is a first-generation college graduate from rural West Virginia and received his doctorate in applied mathematics from Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
The AURCO Journal is a peer-reviewed, multi-disciplinary scholarly journal published annually that is dedicated to advancing knowledge through empirical investigation and theoretical analysis.