June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.75.1 - 12.75.18
A National Model for Engineering Mathematics Education
The traditional approach to engineering mathematics education begins with one year of freshman calculus as a prerequisite to subsequent core engineering courses. However, the inability of incoming students to successfully advance through the traditional freshman calculus sequence is a primary cause of attrition in engineering programs across the country. As a result, this paper describes an NSF funded initiative at Wright State University to redefine the way in which engineering mathematics is taught, with the goal of increasing student retention, motivation and success in engineering.
This paper provides an overview of the WSU model for engineering mathematics education, followed by an assessment of student performance, perception and retention through its initial implementation1-4. It also summarizes the scope of a recent NSF CCLI Phase 2 Expansion award, which involves a multiyear assessment at WSU, pilot adoption and assessment at two collaborating institutions, and a widespread dissemination of results.
Traditionally, only about 42% of incoming freshmen who wish to pursue an engineering or computer science degree at Wright State University (WSU) ever complete the required freshman calculus sequence. The remaining 58% either switch majors or leave the University. These numbers are not unique to WSU; indeed, the inability of incoming students to successfully advance through the traditional freshman calculus sequence is a primary cause of attrition in engineering programs across the country.
Clearly, there are a variety of factors influencing student retention and success in engineering, the most notable being a lack of preparation in high school. Moreover, engineering retention is of particular concern among members of traditionally underrepresented groups, as well as among transfer students and nontraditional students returning to school from the workplace5. This has led engineering educators to introduce early intervention programs, aimed at increasing retention among incoming students6,7. The WrightSTEPP and Academic Advantage programs here at WSU are two such programs, which begin intervention with local high school students even before they begin their freshman years. In addition to early intervention programs, there has been a strong emphasis in recent years on increasing the level of engineering application early in the curriculum, with the goal of increasing student motivation to study engineering. This has led to the development of problem-based freshman engineering courses8-13, including the EGR 190 Fundamentals of Engineering course here at WSU. Such courses are typically designed to give students a broad, application-based introduction to the various engineering disciplines, so that they can begin to appreciate why they must endure the rigor of their subsequent engineering curricula.
Klingbeil, N., & Rattan, K., & Raymer, M., & Reynolds, D., & Mercer, R., & Kukreti, A., & Randolph, B. (2007, June), A National Model For Engineering Mathematics Education Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2104
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