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Demographic Factors And Academic Performance: How Do Chemical Engineering Students Compare With Others?

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.359.1 - 8.359.12



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Paper Authors

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Rufus Carter

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Tim Anderson

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Brian Thorndyke

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Guili Zhang

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

Demographic Factors and Academic Performance: How Do Chemical Engineering Students Compare with Others?

Guili Zhang, Brian Thorndyke, Matthew Ohland, Rufus Carter, and Tim Anderson

Educational Psychology Department, University of Florida / Department of Physics, University of Florida / Department of General Engineering, Clemson University / Educational Psychology Department, University of Florida / Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Florida


Using the Southeastern University and College Coalition for Engineering Education (SUCCEED) longitudinal database (LDB), demographics and academic performance measures of undergraduate chemical engineering students were compared with other engineering and non- engineering students. The LDB includes data from nine institutions spanning 13 years, allowing the study of academic performance of students within chemical engineering and elsewhere throughout their undergraduate careers.

I. Introduction

It seems intuitive that undergraduate engineering students, by virtue of admission and course requirements, should rank particularly high in mathematical and analytical skills when compared with the non-science majors. Although it is commonly assumed, it is not obvious that significant differences exist between chemical engineering and other engineering students, nor is it clear how chemical engineers compare with regard to factors such as demographic background or academic performance. Furthermore, to our knowledge, no studies have yet investigated these differences across two or more institutions, thus limiting findings to institution-dependent conclusions.

In previous work1,2, we performed cross-institutional studies to determine the effects of various factors on graduation and retention of engineering undergraduates. Our results demonstrated that SAT math scores, SAT verbal scores, high school GPA, gender, ethnicity and citizenship all play a significant role in both engineering student graduation and retention rates. Given that these factors have been shown to be important to success in engineering, it is interesting to see how chemical engineering students compare to other engineering groups, as well as non-engineering majors. As in previous work, our investigation spanned several institutions and tens of thousands of undergraduate students enrolled within the last 15 years, supporting the generalizability of our results. This study provides important context for other work that studies the performance of chemical engineering students.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Carter, R., & Anderson, T., & Thorndyke, B., & Ohland, M., & Zhang, G. (2003, June), Demographic Factors And Academic Performance: How Do Chemical Engineering Students Compare With Others? Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11698

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