A comparison of the university mathematics learning environment with its high school equivalent

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In light of rising college student debt, many states now offer multiple options for students to earn college credit while still in high school. Concurrent enrollment programs, which allow qualified high school teachers to teach college credit-bearing classes in the high school, are one such option. Because concurrent enrollment classes teach college-level material at college-level rigor, they offer an ideal way to compare the secondary and tertiary learning environments across identical academic expectations. This study sought to compare the university mathematics environment with its concurrent enrollment counterpart. The WIHIC was found to be valid and reliable for the university population. The comparison of 242 students in university classrooms with 260 students in concurrent enrollment classrooms revealed a statistical difference, with the concurrent enrollment setting scoring higher in Involvement, Teacher Support, and Student Cohesion and the university setting scoring higher in Task Orientation. This implies that earning college credit in a secondary setting is a viable, and possibly even preferable, alternative to earning it in a university setting. We examine the discrepancy in scores—particularly the large discrepancy in Task Orientation—and discuss the benefit of the flipped classroom as one path to improving the university learning environment.


This article was originally published in Learning Environments Research. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Learning Environments Research


© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. 2022