June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Women in Engineering
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of factors including self-reported gender, first semester GPA, college credit earned in high school, participation in study abroad, major, and use of supplemental instruction (SI) on retention and academic success of 719 undergraduate students who enrolled in engineering during the fall of 2013 at Northeastern University. Our previous research has shown that use of SI in high school resulted in higher course grades and higher GPAs through a student’s fourth semester. This study was undertaken to evaluate the impact of SI and other factors on retention and academic performance over a five-year period.
Data for gender, pre-matriculation college credit, cumulative GPA, major, and registration status at the end of each semester from Fall 2013 through Summer 2018 were obtained from the University for 211 female and 508 male engineering students who entered at the start of the Fall 2013 semester. Data for participation in group and one-on-one tutoring was available from attendance logs for these forms of SI offered to first-year students. This information was analyzed for the effects of gender, number of college credits earned in high school, and participation in first-year SI on retention, graduation rate, GPA, and frequency of both change-in-major and study abroad after each semester.
We found that male and female students’ GPAs at the end of their first semester at Northeastern University correlated positively with not only their fourth semester GPAs, but also their graduation GPAs. Females had higher five-year rates of graduation, as well as higher mean GPAs at graduation compared to males. The amount of college credit earned in high school influenced students’ academic performance in college. A lack of pre-matriculation college credit had a significant negative effect on males, with males without pre-college credit having lower retention and graduation rates and lower GPAs at every time point compared to their male peers who entered with college credit. In contrast, the retention and graduation rates, as well as GPAs of females without pre-enrollment college credit did not differ significantly from their female peers with credits. Overall, females used SI at higher rates than their male counterparts. Furthermore, females entering without college credit used first-year SI at markedly higher rates than their female peers who entered with college credit and male counterparts who entered with and without college credit. In summary, these results show a link between first semester GPA and graduation rates, demonstrate that college-level coursework taken during high school is correlated to college graduation GPA for males, and suggest that SI usage during the first semester of college by females without college credit may explain why females achieve higher levels of academic success throughout their undergraduate careers.
Priem, B. J., & Ghio, C., & Boyce, H., & Morris, S. A., & Kaeli, E., & Cole, T. B., & DiMilla, P. A., & Reisberg, R. (2019, June), A Longitudinal Study of the Effects of Pre-College Preparation and Use of Supplemental Instruction during the First Year on GPA and Retention for Women in Engineering Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/31969
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