Asee peer logo

Are Solution Manuals Detrimental to Student Learning?

Download Paper |


2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Teaching and Learning Strategies II

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.231.1 - 26.231.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Cyrus Habibi P.E. University of Wisconsin-Platteville

author page

Annelise Shirley Roti Roti University of Wisconsin - Platteville

author page

Motahareh Alaei Minnesota State University, Mankato

Download Paper |


Do solution manuals hurt student learning?Homework has traditionally been the essential part of student learning, especially in engineeringeducation, but the availability of solution manuals has affected this essential part. Nowadays,solution manuals are widely available on internet. It just takes a few minutes to find a solutionmanual for specific homework problems. There are a number of papers reporting the effects ofsolution manuals on students’ learning. Some of these reports highlighted that the availability ofsolution manuals has adversely affected student learning. However, there are two subjects in thisarea that have not been emphasized: what the best options are for instructors and what thestudents’ perspectives are toward the availability of solution manuals. It might be true that byusing solution manuals students will not spend the time necessary to solve homework problems.This is the main reason that many instructors have stopped assigning homework or stoppedgrading them.The options available to instructors are: 1) not assigning homework 2) not collecting and grading3) creating custom-made problems 4) assigning and grading homework problems but minimizingtheir effects on final grades. In this paper, we will discuss the pros and cons of each option. Thestudents’ perspectives on homework will be also presented in this paper. To support thediscussion, an electronic survey will be sent to a number of engineering students at University ofWisconsin-Platteville. Some of the questions will be asked in the survey are: 1. Have you used solution manual for your homework? 2. What motivated you to use a solution manual? 3. What was your overall performance in the course that you used solution manual? 4. Did you feel that using the solution manual was helpful to your learning?” 5. Do you think solution manuals hurt student learning?

Habibi, C., & Roti Roti, A. S., & Alaei, M. (2015, June), Are Solution Manuals Detrimental to Student Learning? Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23570

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: © 2015 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