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A Comparative Study of Engineering Matriculation Practices

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.32.1 - 24.32.7



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Paper Authors


Matthew W. Ohland Purdue University and Central Queensland University Orcid 16x16

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Matthew W. Ohland is Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University and a Professorial Research Fellow at Central Queensland University. He has degrees from Swarthmore College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Florida. His research on the longitudinal study of engineering students, team assignment, peer evaluation, and active and collaborative teaching methods has been supported by over $12.8 million from the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation and his team received Best Paper awards from the Journal of Engineering Education in 2008 and 2011 and from the IEEE Transactions on Education in 2011. Dr. Ohland is past Chair of ASEE’s Educational Research and Methods division and a member the Board of Governors of the IEEE Education Society. He was the 2002–2006 President of Tau Beta Pi.

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Catherine E. Brawner Research Triangle Educational Consultants

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Catherine E. Brawner is President of Research Triangle Educational Consultants. She received her Educational Research and Policy Analysis from NC State University in 1996. She also has an MBA from Indiana University (Bloomington) and a bachelor’s degree from Duke University. She specializes in evaluation and research in engineering education, computer science education, teacher education, and technology education. Dr. Brawner is a founding member and former treasurer of Research Triangle Park Evaluators, an American Evaluation Association affiliate organization and is a member of the American Educational Research Association and American Evaluation Association, in addition to ASEE. Dr. Brawner is also an Extension Services Consultant for the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) and, in that role, advises computer science departments on diversifying their undergraduate student population. Dr. Brawner previously served as principal evaluator of the NSF-sponsored SUCCEED Coalition. She remains an active researcher with MIDFIELD, studying gender issues, transfers, and matriculation models in engineering.

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Xingyu Chen Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Xingyu Chen is a Ph. D. student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She obtained her master’s degree in operational research and bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Zhejiang University, China. She started to pursue her Ph.D. degree in engineering education at Purdue in 2010. She is working with Dr. Ohland on the Multiple-Institution Database for Investigating Engineering Longitudinal Development (MIDFIELD), and also on the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) database.

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Marisa K. Orr Louisiana Tech University Orcid 16x16

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A Comparative Study of Engineering Matriculation Practices The original goals of this project were to: 1) describe the matriculation patterns and disciplinary choices of engineering students using the Multiple‐Institution Database for Investigating Engineering Longitudinal Development (MIDFIELD) and 2) explore the underlying reasons for patterns found with MIDFIELD through interviews with sophomore engineering students at selected MIDFIELD partners. A third goal has since been added to develop a taxonomy of engineering matriculation practices that encompasses all undergraduate engineering degree programs in the United States. The MIDFIELD database will be used to map the matriculation, third‐semester major, and graduation of first time in college students at each of the partner institutions. We will look at aggregate trends and differences among and between institutions and generate frequency and descriptive statistics related to the enrollment and persistence trends of undergraduate engineering students from the MIDFIELD institutions. The MIDFIELD database will be used to define the following distributions based on institution, gender, ethnicity, SAT/ACT scores and high school GPA where available, and socioeconomic status if feasible: (1) Students matriculating in engineering; (2) Students enrolled in an engineering discipline at the third semester; and (3) Students who graduate in an engineering discipline. We have developed and refined a Taxonomy of Engineering Matriculation Practices that applies to all 390 ABET accredited undergraduate engineering programs in the United States. The taxonomy has been presented to engineering educators for feedback at ASEE and modified based on that feedback and further research. After clarifying the model used at some institutions where it could not be determined from the institution’s website, the data gathered will be transmitted to ASEE. The taxonomy is groundwork for ongoing dissertation research that relates matriculation model, first year engineering curriculum, and institutional characteristics (e.g., Carnegie classification, selectivity). During this project, we have conducted 30 interviews with sophomore engineering students at three institutions yielding a total of 62 interviews at six institutions over two years, verified transcripts of recorded interviews, and conducted preliminary analysis of interview data. Preliminary taxonomy groups have been used to analyze patterns in retention and major selection.  Interviews with sophomore students were conducted at six institutions and have answered four research questions so far: 1) why did students choose their institution? 2) Did the matriculation model of the institution affect the students’ decision to choose that institution? 3) Why did students choose their engineering majors? And 4) Did an introduction to engineering course, if taken, affect the students’ choice of major? 

Ohland, M. W., & Brawner, C. E., & Chen, X., & Orr, M. K. (2014, June), A Comparative Study of Engineering Matriculation Practices Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--19924

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