Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Tabitha Mingus

Second Advisor

Melinda Koelling

Third Advisor

Katie Easley


Students that enroll in Math 1220, Calculus 1, can be categorized into two groups after completion of the course; those that are successful and able to proceed to the next course by earning a grade of “C” or better (pass) and those that are not successful and unable to proceed to the next course by earning below a “C” (fail). The Mathematics Association of America (MAA) has reported the national average of unsuccessful Calculus 1 students to be 25%. At the conclusion of the spring 2015 semester at Western Michigan University (WMU), the rate was approximately 40%. Institutional data was examined with the intent to discover any trends in the students that were unsuccessful. These trends can be found in how students are placed into Calculus 1, specific measurements of progression throughout the course, and time gap in knowledge between a students’ previous mathematics course and Calculus 1. From the data, there are clear indicators of success and failure for students enrolled in Calculus 1. Instructors teaching this course should be aware of these early warning signs of failure so that they can be proactive and work with the identified at-risk students. The intent of this is for the success rate of students to increase, and the fail rate to decrease.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access