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A Description of the Statistics Behind Analyzing Performance Data: A Five-year Study of a Summer Bridge Program for Incoming URM Freshmen

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Multidisciplinary First-year Experiences

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.34.1 - 26.34.17



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Paper Authors


Carol S. Stwalley Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Carol S. Stwalley, PE joined the Minority Engineering Program team in the fall of 2007 as Recruitment and Retention Analyst. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Biological Engineering (ABE), MSABE, and PhD ABE from Purdue University. Carol has more than 14 years in diversity work with considerable background working with the Women in Engineering Programs at Purdue. In her current capacity as Recruitment and Retention Analyst for the Minority Engineering Program and the Purdue Office of Institutional Assessment, Dr. Stwalley collects, analyzes and manages data pertaining to the outreach, recruitment, retention and graduation of engineering students from historically underrepresented groups.

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Tasha Zephirin Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Darryl Athos Dickerson Purdue University, West Lafayette


Virginia Lynn Booth Womack Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Virginia received her B.S. in Industrial Engineering and a B.A. in Psychology while at Purdue University. She is currently the Director of Minority Engineering Programs in the College of Engineering. She assumed the position in 2004 after 18 years of manufacturing experience. Her last assignment was Lean Manufacturing Manager for the for the 3.7L and 4.7L Mack Engine facilities at Chrysler Corporation in Detroit, Michigan. Virginia has applied lean manufacturing concepts to identify and close the achievement gap between under-represented minority engineering students and the total engineering cohort. This was achieved focusing on first semester performance and first year retention through implementation of an aggressive transition program targeting first year engineering students from historically under-represented groups. She recently was called upon to serve as interim Executive Director for the National Society of Black Engineers from December 2013 through August 2014 during which time the organization experienced membership growth and strong metric focus towards goal attainment.

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COMPARING INDEPENDENT POPULATION AND PAIRED MATCH ANALYSES OF PERFORMANCE DATA: A Five-Year Study of an Academic Boot Camp for Incoming Freshmen The Minority Engineering Program at a large, R1 institution initiated an engineering summerbridge program in the summer of 2005 to address a nine percentage point difference between the2004 underrepresented minority (URM) first year retention rates and the overall cohort’sretention rate (67% vs. 76%). The following year, the multiethnic programs in the Colleges ofScience and Technology also added similar programs. The paramount success metric of theseprograms was improvement of the first year retention rate of the URM population, thus removingthe observed disparity between the URM and majority populations. A potential secondary benefitwould be increased academic performance in the gateway courses presented in the camps, thusimproving their first term GPA. This study presents a five year analysis of the incoming F’08 – F’12 cohorts of the program todetermine the value to the incoming students. These years were chosen so that each of thecolleges could have moved through their pilot program development phase. Comparisons weremade between first year retention rates and first term GPA’s of the three populations: URMstudents who took the ABC, non-attending URM students, and domestic majority students whodid not take the ABC. Two methods of analysis were used to perform this comparison. AnIndependent Population Analysis took all students from each population to determine statisticaldifferences between the retention and GPA averages. These determiners of student success arealso analyzed using the Paired Matches Analysis, where each ABC student is matched with onestudent in the other two populations. This compared similar students with regard to suchdemographics as: • Ethnicity (for URM matches), Gender, and Residency • Major in Science or Technology • Core GPA from high school • SAT(Math), SAT(Critical Reading), SAT(M+CR), or the SAT equivalent of these ACT scores • Number of types of involvement in the minority programs • First semester courses This paper will discuss the differences observed in how effective each college’s AcademicBoot Camp attendees performed against their URM and domestic, majority students. Results willbe shown for Retention in each cohort, Retention in STEM, Retention in the University,Voluntarily Withdrew, or Dropped status, as well as 1st term GPA’s for each group. Thestatistical analysis process used will be discussed as well as how these results vary betweenwhich method of analysis was used.

Stwalley, C. S., & Zephirin, T., & Dickerson, D. A., & Booth Womack, V. L. (2015, June), A Description of the Statistics Behind Analyzing Performance Data: A Five-year Study of a Summer Bridge Program for Incoming URM Freshmen Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23375

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