Chemical Education

Competence and confidence: addressing inequity among incoming chemistry graduate students through a week-long mathematics intervention

Authors

Abstract

We have designed and implemented a student-led mathematics bootcamp to improve mathematical skills and confidence among incoming physical chemistry doctoral students. The bootcamp is held immediately before the start of the first semester of graduate school and uses an active learning approach to review and practice undergraduate mathematics problems over five days in small student groups. We have developed content, which is now publicly available, for the bootcamp on select mathematics topics, including calculus, linear algebra, functions, differential equations, statistics and coding in Python, aiming at improving students' learning experiences in graduate quantum mechanics and statistical physics courses. Surveys before and after the bootcamp showed an increase in students' confidence in problem solving in key mathematical areas and in social aspects of peer-led group learning. Through qualitative and quantitative analysis, we demonstrate that the bootcamp reduced prior inequities in these metrics based on gender and mathematical background.

Content

Thumbnail image of Bootcamp_Manuscript.pdf

Supplementary material

Thumbnail image of Bootcamp_SI.pdf
Supplementary Material to "Competence and confidence: addressing inequity among incoming chemistry graduate students through a week-long mathematics intervention"
Contains data for changes in self-reported confidence scores, template for survey questions and interview questions.

Supplementary weblinks

UC Berkeley College of Chemistry Mathematics Bootcamp
Official website for the mathematics bootcamp containing information on current instructors and instructional content.