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A Meta Analysis Of Studies Of Cognition In Engineering Education

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Educational Research

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.51.1 - 15.51.13



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Paper Authors

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Terry Brumback University of Alabama

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Randal Schumacker The University of Alabama

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Daniel Fonseca The University of Alabama

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Meta Analysis of Studies of Cognition in Engineering Education

Abstract – This study is a survey of current literature related to cognition in engineering education. The extensiveness of current empirical evidence is examined and the magnitude and direction of recent studies is determined. The study also examined procedural and cognitive characteristics that might indicate a relationship between cognition and student outcomes. The study represents an extensive search of 27,464 published studies from 10 library holdings and 10 Journals in engineering education. Twenty studies, meeting study criteria, were coded for 39 variables in six categories. Studies were assigned to one of two groups based on the statistical evidence that was reported. Group I reported p-values only and Group II reported F, t, or chi square values. Significance of Group I studies is shown through a summary chi square and p value. A summary weighted unbiased effect size was determined for Group II studies. With only 0.07% of studies meeting search criteria, it was determined that there is a limited amount of empirical evidence in this area of study. Both Group I and Group II studies indicated that there is a positive relationship between cognition and undergraduate engineering student outcomes. There was not enough evidence to suggest a trend between procedural characteristics and cognitive characteristics to student outcomes in undergraduate student outcomes.


Engineering education has, in the past, typically referred to those educational programs leading to a professional degree in engineering. A number of degrees are offered in this career field including Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy. Lately a number of degree programs have been developed at the Associate of Science level in engineering technologies. Engineering education is typically comprised of multiple disciplines such as industrial, mechanical, civil, electrical, and other specialties. Program graduates in applicable disiplines are eligible to sit for the Professional Engineer (PE) exam after completing the Bachelor of Science degree and ive years of verified field experience.

Engineering education has taken on additional meaning as an engineering iscipline with the establishment of departments such as Freshman Engineering Programs and the less common Engineering Education, in many schools across the country. This move defines the widening responsibility felt by engineering schools to conduct research in areas such as social responsibility, ethics, learning, and retention as the overall demand for moved from the defense needs of the cold war era to the explosive rise of global competition (National Research Council Board for Engineering Education, 1995). The need for change was initially recognized in three separate reports targeting engineering education (American Society for Engineering Education [ASEE], 1994); National Science Foundation [NSF], 1995; and National Research Council Board for Engineering Education, 1995). Since those initial studies, other reports have called for more specific changes related to teaching and curriculum to support a more diverse group of learners (Building Engineering and Science Talent [BEST], 2004;

Brumback, T., & Schumacker, R., & Fonseca, D. (2010, June), A Meta Analysis Of Studies Of Cognition In Engineering Education Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16052

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015