The Geology of Mexico: A Quantitative Evaluation of a Course Designed to Increase the Number of Hispanic Students Participating in the Geosciences at California State University, Sacramento

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Hammersley, L. C., Levine, R., Cornwell, K., Kusnick, J. E., & Hausback, B. P. (2012). The Geology of Mexico: A Quantitative Evaluation of a Course Designed to Increase the Number of Hispanic Students Participating in the Geosciences at California State University, Sacramento. Journal of Geoscience Education, 60(2), 189-198. DOI: 10.5408/11-243.1
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We present a quantitative evaluation of the effectiveness of a newly developed introductory course, Geology of Mexico, in attracting Hispanic students, encouraging them to take more geology courses, and recruiting them to the major. The student population in the Geology of Mexico course was 93% Hispanic compared with 18.5% in Physical Geology. We found that Hispanic students in Physical Geology earned lower grades than did nonminority students, while Hispanic students in Geology of Mexico earned grades comparable with nonminority students in Physical Geology. Overall, Geology of Mexico students also showed more positive attitude changes and were more likely to take another geology course. The recruitment rate into the major for Hispanic students in Geology of Mexico was 4.7% compared with 3% in Physical Geology. The recruitment rate for nonminority students in Physical Geology was 4.9%. We believe the difference in outcome for Hispanic students is due to a strong cohort effect enhanced by (1) the required lab component and (2) many students knowing one another because they belong to the Hispanic-serving organizations on campus that promote our course.

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