New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Student Paper There are numerous opportunities for K-12 students to participate in pre-college engineering experiences, such as university sponsored summer engineering programs, high school engineering courses, extra-curricular activities, and summer internships. Program administrators often report that these pre-collegiate engineering experiences are successful in increasing students’ motivation to pursue an engineering degree. This is consistent with self-efficacy theories, which tell us that when a student perceives an experience as positive, that experience can encourage the student to continue participating in that subject area. While we do know that these programs can encourage students to enroll in engineering, the lasting impact of these programs on engineering students is less clear. We provide some clarity by examining background factors of retained aerospace engineering students. The goal of this investigation is to identify the factors that increase student success in engineering to inform future programs and curricula. Research questions guiding this study include: 1) How do retained aerospace engineers describe the impact of participation in a pre-engineering program on university major choice? and 2) Which background factors affect student retention and success in Aerospace Engineering students? We surveyed sophomore and senior aerospace engineering students and analyzed the students’ self-reported background factors, engineering identity, and engineering self-efficacy. Student information such as GPA, retention information, demographics, SAT/ACT scores, and initial major of study were acquired from the university and analyzed with the self-reported data to determine significant measures of success. The results of our investigation can inform the design and implementation of pre-college engineering programs.
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