Effectiveness of a Voluntary Postsecondary Remediation Program in Mathematics

Tempelaar, Dirk T.; Rienties, Bart; Giesbers, Bas and Schim van der Loeff, Sybrand (2012). Effectiveness of a Voluntary Postsecondary Remediation Program in Mathematics. In: Van den Bossche, Piet; Gijselaers, Wim and Milter, Richard eds. Learning at the Crossroads of Theory and Practice: Research on Innovative Learning Practices. Advances in Business Education and Training. Springer, pp. 199–222.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-2846-2_13


This chapter evaluates a postsecondary remediation program in mathematics, aiming to ease the transition from high school to university and to improve the success rates in the first year of bachelor studies. The remediation program consists of voluntary bridging education in the format of an online summer course. We investigate five cohorts of in total 4500 students of Maastricht University School of Business and Economics, with 578 participants in the remedial education program. Effect analysis suggests a strong treatment effect of successful participation in the summer course. However, given the quasi-experimental setup of this study, with non-equivalent groups, selection effects may be responsible for part of that effect. Therefore, the treatment effect is corrected by applying the propensity score method, taking into consideration a wide range of student background factors. Correction of the treatment effect indicates that indeed a selection effect is present, but that a substantial treatment effect remains, of about 50% the size of the effect of being educated in high school at advanced math level rather than basic math level.

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