June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Educational Research and Methods
12.94.1 - 12.94.12
A Preliminary Analysis of Correlates of Engineering Persistence: Results from a Longitudinal Study
This paper outlines the preliminary findings of a longitudinal survey-based study, the Persistence in Engineering (PIE) survey. This survey was designed to identify and characterize the fundamental factors that influence students’ intentions to pursue an engineering degree over the course of their undergraduate career, and upon graduation, to pursue a career in an engineering- related field, including practicing engineering as a profession, teaching, or conducting research. In addition, it is also designed to broaden our understanding of how students navigate their education and begin to form identities as engineers.
In the fourth year of the study, 76% of the 141 students enrolled in the study as first-year students are still enrolled in engineering (persisters) and 24% are no longer majoring in engineering (nonpersisters). Preliminary analyses suggest that there are some interesting similarities and differences between the persisters and nonpersisters. For example, nonpersisters are more likely to be motivated to study engineering by family influences. They also report lower levels of confidence in their math and science skills as first-year and sophomore students, as well as lower levels of engagement in both engineering and liberal arts courses as compared to their persister counterparts. These results are preliminary; even so, they begin to illustrate the many ways that persisters and nonpersisters are similar and the potentially significant ways that they are different. A more comprehensive analysis of the data is in progress.
The Academic Pathways Study (APS) of the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE) is building upon and extending knowledge related to retention in engineering education1-7 by employing quantitative and qualitative approaches to establish a longitudinal research base on engineering student learning8. This paper reports the preliminary analysis outcomes of six of the seven planned administrations of the Persistence in Engineering (PIE) survey instrument, which was developed as a part of the APS9.
The PIE Survey intends to identify correlates of persistence in engineering. It identifies and explores two levels of persistence: academic and professional. “Academic persistence” is operationalized as declaring an intention to major in engineering, and “professional persistence” is operationalized as declaring an intention to conduct research in, teach, and/or practice engineering for at least three years after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in engineering.
The survey has been developed by an interdisciplinary team employing a mixed-methods approach. Its development process and conceptual framework has been documented in detail in a previous publication9. At this phase of the APS, the PIE Survey is primarily an exploratory tool. In the next phase (2007-2008), the survey will serve as the basis of a more refined national
Eris, O., & Chachra, D., & Chen, H., & Rosca, C., & Ludlow, L., & Sheppard, S., & Donaldson, K. (2007, June), A Preliminary Analysis Of Correlates Of Engineering Persistence: Results From A Longitudinal Study Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2781
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