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Common and Uncommon Characteristics of Engineering Student Retention After the First Year in University

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Academic Success and Retention

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

15

DOI

10.18260/1-2--36813

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36813

Download Count

123

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Paper Authors

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Nong Ye Arizona State University

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Dr. Nong Ye is a tenured, full professor and program chair at Arizona State University. She received a PhD degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University, West Lafayette, a MS degree in Computer Science from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a BS degree in Computer Science from Peking University. Her past and current research has received over $9M external funding support and has produced eighty-eight journal papers and five books, including Data Mining: Theories, Algorithms, and Examples. Her recent research focuses on developing data mining algorithms to discover multivariate data associations for capturing both partial-value and full-value variable associations as well as both individual and interactive effects of multiple variables. New algorithms have been used in applications for engineering retention and education, cyber attack detection, and energy systems modeling.

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Ting Yan Fok Arizona State University

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Ting Yan Fok received the B.S. degree in Computing Mathematics and the M.S. degree in Mathematics for Finance and Actuarial Science from the City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, in 2013 and 2015 respectively. She is currently a Ph.D. student in Industrial Engineering in ASU. Her research interests include data mining and machine learning. Her recent research focuses on developing algorithms to discover data associations.

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James Collofello Arizona State University

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Vice Dean of Academic and Student Affairs
Professor of Computer Science and Engineering
School of Computing Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

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Tami Coronella Arizona State University

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Tami Coronella is the Director of Student Success and Engagement for the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. She has worked in advising and advising administration since 2000. Her academic career has been focused at Arizona State University, where she earned a B.S. in Management and an M.S. in Public Administration. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Innovation focusing on broadening STEM participation amongst underrepresented populations. Her interests include advisor development and assessment along with student retention and persistence.

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Abstract

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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