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Exploring the Relationship Between Community College Students’ Exposure to Math Contextualization and Educational Outcomes

Xueli Wang (), Yen Lee, Xiwei Zhu and Ayse Okur Ozdemir
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Xueli Wang: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Yen Lee: Wisconsin Center for Education Research
Xiwei Zhu: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ayse Okur Ozdemir: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Research in Higher Education, 2022, vol. 63, issue 2, No 5, 309-336

Abstract: Abstract Low completion rates of math courses pose a major challenge for community college students’ educational progress and outcomes. Contextualized instruction has been identified as a promising approach to removing some of the longstanding barriers within math teaching and learning. Still, the empirical base on this topic remains small, with particularly little evidence on how exposure to math contextualization relates to students’ longer-term educational outcomes, which bear important implications for institutions’ performance metrics and policymaking. We contribute new research on this front by examining how exposure to math contextualization relates to a range of interim and longer-term educational outcomes at a large community college in a Midwestern state. We applied the genetic matching approach to construct a study sample that was balanced in background characteristics between the student group receiving contextualized math instruction and their counterparts enrolled in traditional math courses. We adopted a set of regression analyses based on the matched sample, and found a significant positive relationship between exposure to math contextualization and students’ outcome measures, including course performance, term GPA, continuous postsecondary enrollment, credential completion, and upward transfer.

Keywords: Active learning; Community colleges; Contextualized instruction; Math contextualization; Technical education; Student outcomes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s11162-021-09644-w

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