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Correlation of Prerequisite Course Grades with Student Performance

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session


Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.343.1 - 23.343.15



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Paper Authors


Amir Karimi University of Texas, San Antonio

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Amir Karimi is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He received his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1982. His teaching and research interests are in thermal sciences. He has served as the Chair of Mechanical Engineering (1987 to 1992 and September 1998 to January of 2003), College of Engineering Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (Jan. 2003-April 2006), and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies (April 2006-present). Dr. Karimi is a Fellow of ASME, senior member of AIAA, and holds membership in ASEE, ASHRAE, and Sigma Xi. He has served as the ASEE Campus Representative at UTSA, ASEE-GSW Section Campus Representative, and served as the Chair of ASEE Zone III (2005-07). He chaired the ASEE-GSW section during the 1996-97 academic year.

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Randall D. Manteufel University of Texas, San Antonio

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Randall Manteufel is an Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He teaches courses in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer. He is the faculty advisor for the student chapter of American Society for Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers at UTSA.

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Correlation of Prerequisite Grades with Student Performance in the course AbstractThis paper examines the relationship between the performance of students in course and gradesreceived in an important prerequisite course from various instructors teaching the prerequisitesubject. One way to gage the depth of knowledge gained by students completing a particularcourse is to track their performance in the follow up courses in which a full understanding of theprerequisite topics are essential. A course sequence in thermodynamics is an ideal vehicle forsuch an examination, since a complete knowledge of the materials covered in the first course isessential for the successful completion of the second course. Between fall semester 1994 andsummer 2012, the first course in thermodynamics was offered 54 times and taught by ninedifferent instructors. An examination of grade distributions in this course shows that there aresmall variations in student passing rates for a given instructor from semester to semester. Thegrade distributions, however, display significantly wider variations of student passing ratesamong the instructors who have taught the course. Average student passing rates have been aslow as 36% for the sections taught by one instructor and as high as 81% for the sections taughtby another instructor. On the surface it is not clear whether the higher passing rate is the resultof superior teaching skills or due to a more lenient grading policy. Therefore, the same gradeawarded by different instructors, might not be a good indication of the knowledge gained bystudents completing the course. This paper tracks and examines students’ performance in asecond course in thermodynamics. This study groups of students that have taken the first coursein thermodynamics from one instructor and examines their performance in the second course inthermodynamics and makes recommendations on a more equitable grade assignment by theinstructors teaching the same course. Proceedings of the 2012 ASEE Gulf-Southwest Annual Conference University of Texas at El Paso Copyright © 2012, American Society for Engineering Education

Karimi, A., & Manteufel, R. D. (2013, June), Correlation of Prerequisite Course Grades with Student Performance Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19357

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