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Board 77 : Work in Progress: An Analysis of Correlations in Student Performance in Core Technical Courses at a Large Public Research Institution’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Christopher Robbiano Colorado State University

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Chris Robbiano is currently a PhD student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at Colorado State University. He received a BS degree in electrical engineering and a BS degree in physics in 2011, as well as an MS in electrical engineering in 2017 from Colorado State University. His current areas of interest are statistical signal processing and engineering education.

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Anthony A. Maciejewski Colorado State University

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Anthony A. Maciejewski received the BS, MS, and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from Ohio State University, Columbus
in 1982, 1984, and 1987, respectively. From 1988 to 2001, he was a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University, West Lafayette. He is currently a professor
and head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Colorado State University. He is a fellow of IEEE. A complete vita is available at: ~aam.

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Edwin K. P. Chong Ph.D. Colorado State University

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The National Science Foundation is supporting several institutions under their “Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments” (RED) program. The focus of RED program projects is on the middle two years of engineering or computer science programs. Our particular project proposes to remove the artificial barriers that a traditional course-based curriculum creates. As part of this process, we first seek to understand the relationships between the various required technical courses in our Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department. In particular, we examine the performance of students in their junior year and study the correlation of grades between courses and their prerequisite offerings. We also provide a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) decomposition of the grades within the junior-year courses to help explain trends in the students’ GPAs.

The junior year of our undergraduate ECE curriculum consists of three main subject areas, i.e., electronics, electromagnetics, and signals and systems, each spanning two semesters.  We show that the student performance within each subject during the first semester has a moderately strong correlation to their performance during the second semester, with each relationship having a Spearman's rho greater than 0.55.  Analysis of the principal components explains that 60% of the total variance in individual course grades amongst students is due to the overall performance of students prior to entering the junior year. In other words, students who had a greater overall GPA had a tendency to perform better during the junior year.  The insights gained from these correlations is being used to inform how technical content from these three topical areas is temporally arranged in our new integrated delivery mode.

Robbiano, C., & Maciejewski, A. A., & Chong, E. K. P. (2018, June), Board 77 : Work in Progress: An Analysis of Correlations in Student Performance in Core Technical Courses at a Large Public Research Institution’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30104

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