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Assessing Problem-Solving Strategy Use by Engineering Undergraduates

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Division Technical Session 8

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32116

Download Count

9

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Paper Authors

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Roman Taraban Texas Tech University

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Roman Taraban is Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Texas Tech University. He received his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Carnegie Mellon University. His interests are in how undergraduate students learn, and especially, in critical thinking and how students draw meaningful connections in traditional college content materials.

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Edward E. Anderson Texas Tech University

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Professor Edward E. Anderson is a faculty member of the Texas Tech University Department of Mechanical Engineering where he is a Ray Butler Distinguished Educator and Piper Professor Award recipient. Since returning to the faculty after several different administrative assignments, including Departmental Chairman, Assistant Dean, and Director of the TTU Teaching, Learning and Technology Center, he has focused upon engineering student learning research with an eye upon how to use these findings to improve traditional and computer-based learning. Recently, he received the Premier Award for excellence in engineering education courseware.

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John Richard Schumacher Texas Tech University

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I am a PhD in Cognitive Psychology at Texas Tech University. My primary research interests lie in studying memory as it applies to an academic setting, and moral decision making. I also have a strong interest in studying different statistical analytical techniques to appropriately and efficiently model data.

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Hani Dulli

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David Lamp Texas Tech University

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I have taught introductory physics for engineers and for pre-service teachers for decades. Originally from the University of Missouri-Columbia. I worked with engineers and as an engineer all my research and academic life.

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Abstract

Assessing Problem-Solving Strategy Use by Engineering Undergraduates

Problem-solving strategies are the deliberate mental steps that a person takes to proceed in specific ways at various points during problem solution in order to analyze, solve, and reflect on a problem. Engineering undergraduates enrolled in physics and thermodynamics reported the frequency of use of problem-solving strategies, confidence in their ability to solve problems, and answered demographic questions. Measures of performance included course grades. Factor-analytic methods that were applied to students’ reports of strategy use identified three types of strategies, which were labeled Execution, Planning and Looking Back, and Low Confidence in Ability. The three factors were significant predictors of course performance, based on correlation and regression methods that were applied to the data. The study provides evidence that using problem-solving strategies improves course performance and that low confidence is a hindrance to successful performance. Differences in the roles of problem-solving strategies for engineering students in physics compared to thermodynamics suggest that students use these strategies differently in those courses.

Taraban, R., & Anderson, E. E., & Schumacher, J. R., & Dulli, H., & Lamp, D. (2019, June), Assessing Problem-Solving Strategy Use by Engineering Undergraduates Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32116

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