Anticipated Date of Graduation

Summer 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mathematical Sciences



First Advisor

Douglas Darbro


This study examines the academic success of math-intensive STEM students enrolled in Calculus 2. As the need for qualified STEM professionals continues to grow in the United States, universities seek to understand factors that impact academic success and student retention in STEM majors. Success in first-year college calculus courses is critical for students to succeed in upper-level courses needed to graduate in math-intensive STEM majors like mathematics, the physical sciences, and engineering. As more students enter universities with Calculus 1 credit from Advanced Placement (AP) or Dual Enrollment courses in high school or from another post-secondary institution, a higher number of students are beginning their college mathematics education in college Calculus 2. This study examined how student success in Calculus 2 was impacted by the student’s Calculus 1 background and math-intensive STEM major and identified factors predictive of student success in Calculus 2 for several student backgrounds. The results suggest students with AP experience are well-prepared for Calculus 2 and students with credit for Calculus 1 from another institution may need additional academic support to succeed in Calculus 2. In addition, while Calculus 2 success varies little between students in most math-intensive STEM majors, students majoring in Forensic Science may also need additional academic support to successfully complete the course. The study results support continuing to encourage student participation in STEM learning communities at the university and the expansion of STEM learning communities to include transfer students. The results also suggest higher Calculus 1 grades, AP Calculus exam scores, and SAT math scores are predictive of STEM student success in Calculus 2 and students are less likely to succeed in Calculus 2 when they need to complete several pre-requisite courses prior to enrolling in Calculus 1. Finally, the impact of ethnicity on student success in Calculus 2 at this university is minimal according to the results of this study.

Included in

Mathematics Commons