July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Educational Research and Methods
This paper presents new research and findings about common and uncommon characteristics of engineering student retention after the first year in university. We collected six data sets of students who entered Arizona State University (ASU) in 2009, 2011, 2014 – 2017. Each data set contains data of students’ demographics, high school academic performance, academic performance at ASU, and financial aids, as well as survey data covering students’ academic confidence, support, wellness, university life – academics , and university life – social, and hours of various activities. We analyzed each data set using both univariate frequency analysis and the new multivariate analysis algorithm of PVAD (Partial-Value Association Discovery) to discover multivariate data associations. We identified the first-year GPA above 2.5 ± α (0 ≤ α ≤ 0.52, varying for different classes of students) out of 4.0 (thus not necessarily high GPA) as the most dominant common characteristic among a majority of students who stayed in engineering after the first year in the university. This finding is consistent to another finding that the first-year GPA around and below 2.5 ± α is the most dominant common characteristic among a majority of students who left engineering after the first year. The university has the minimum GPA requirement of 2.0 for a student to graduate from the university. There are two types of uncommon/untypical students whose contradicted a majority of students in engineering retention: students who had their first-year GPA above 2.5 ± α but left engineering after the first year, and students who had their first-year GPA around or below 2.5 ± α but stayed in engineering after the first year. Race/ethnicity in terms of white students versus not-white students is a major characteristic of those uncommon/untypical students, as white students had more tendency to leave engineering even with their first-year GPA above 2.5 ± α, and not-white students had more tendency to stay in engineering even with their first-year GPA around or below 2.5 ± α. Gender also plays a role among those uncommon/untypical students, as male students had more tendency to stay in engineering even with their first-year GPA around or below 2.5 ± α. Students who were not honor students were less stable or varied more in the retention outcome.
Ye, N., & Fok, T. Y., & Collofello, J., & Coronella, T. (2021, July), Common and Uncommon Characteristics of Engineering Student Retention After the First Year in University Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36813
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