Enhancing Student Academic Performance with Achieve for Calculus in a PreCalculus Classroom

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Institutional and Course Context

Delaware State University, a public four-year college, serves over 4,000 undergraduate students. The study conducted in this context involved an instructor who taught 108 students in a hybrid combination of face-to-face and virtual instruction. With over fifteen years of teaching experience and a comfort level with digital tools, the instructor implemented Achieve throughout the Fall 2021 semester.

Course and Digital Learning Goals

The instructor's primary motivation for using Achieve was to keep students engaged and teach them skills that would be applicable in various contexts. Emphasizing the importance of efficiency and providing additional resources for students, the instructor sought to explore new ways of teaching mathematics.

Study Design and Results

The study aimed to investigate the relationship between the use of Achieve and student outcomes while gathering information on instructor and student perceptions of the tool. The results demonstrated several positive aspects of Achieve for Calculus:

  1. Engagement: Both the instructor and the students reported increased engagement in the course with the use of Achieve. Students found the pre-lecture activities and homework assignments within Achieve to be engaging, helping them prepare for class discussions.

  2. Active Learning: Achieve encouraged active learning, as reported by the instructor and the students. They felt that Achieve supported their learning and helped them stay on track during class discussions, fostering active participation and deeper insights into the course content.

  3. Usability: Achieve was deemed easy to use by both the instructor and the students. The comfort level with Achieve in virtual classroom environments contributed to a seamless teaching and learning experience. The majority of students expressed confidence in using Achieve and would recommend it to others.

  4. Comprehension: The tools within Achieve proved effective in supporting student comprehension of the course material. Students reported that Achieve helped them gain a better mastery of the content, fill gaps in their knowledge, and foster deeper insights.

  5. Academic Achievement: The study revealed a significant relationship between students' completion of activities within Achieve and their final grades in the course. Higher activity completion correlated with better overall performance. This relationship remained significant even when controlling for students' GPA.

Insights for Optimization

The instructor and students provided valuable feedback on optimizing the use of Achieve. They highlighted the importance of addressing any issues with slow updating between Achieve and the integrated Learning Management System (LMS). Exploring the available options within iClicker and completing LearningCurves before presenting material in class were also suggested as potential areas for improvement.

The findings from this study demonstrate the positive impact of Achieve for Calculus on student academic performance in an average-sized PreCalculus classroom at a four-year university. The tool's ability to enhance engagement, facilitate active learning, promote comprehension, and contribute to better grades highlights its potential in supporting mathematics education. By incorporating such digital tools effectively, educators can create enriching learning experiences and empower students to succeed in their academic journey.

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*Note: These results are part of a larger Achieve study across multiple institutions. To access the full report and results, please visit


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