The Factors Influencing College Science Success (FICSS) study is NSF-funded research conducted by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics to determine what factors in a student's high school science education are most predictive of college science success. The core data comes from a detailed six-page survey completed by college students early in their introductory college science course, together with each student's final course grade supplied by the professor (with personal identifiers removed).
Participants have included nearly 18,000 students and their professors at randomly selected colleges and universities across the United States; about 2,000 additional randomly chosen college professors; about 1,000 of the students' previous high school teachers; and another 3,000 or so randomly chosen high school teachers. Some of the factors tested include: advanced mathematics (i.e. whether the student took calculus in high school), whether students had done independent science projects, their prior level of access to technology, the impact of specific techniques such as hand-graphing and stoichiometry, the effects of block-scheduling