4.1 Recipe for Successful Meteorology Majors: Are Incoming Test Scores Indicative?

Tuesday, 8 January 2019: 10:30 AM
North 229AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Craig Clark, Valparaiso Univ., Valparaiso, IN; and T. M. Bals-Elsholz, B. J. Wolf, K. Goebbert, and A. Stepanek

Universities are concerned with student learning outcomes, retention and degree completion, since these are important aspects of institutional assessment, economic sustainability and reputation. Admission standards impact these in a myriad of ways, particularly the rates of retention and degree completion. This is of particular importance within disciplines such as atmospheric science, which require a substantial level of mathematics and related conceptual thinking. Given the rigor of these degree programs, what is the role of incoming standardized test scores in indicating which students are more likely to be successful?

Valparaiso University (VU) student outcomes are assessed for seven years (2008-2014 freshman cohorts) of incoming Meteorology majors. These former students are classified as Meteorology alumni, VU graduates of other programs (i.e., not meteorology), and those who left the University. For Meteorology graduates, there is an additional “struggling” indicator for students who had to re-take any required mathematics, physics, and/or meteorology courses. Lastly, the students that changed majors are grouped into those that were performing well and poorly prior to leaving the program. The sensitivity of these student outcomes are evaluated relative to incoming ACT and SAT scores. The underlying question that will be addressed is “What do the scores tell us?”

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