June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Educational Research and Methods
15.346.1 - 15.346.9
Describing the Migration of Students within Engineering
The number of students leaving their initial engineering discipline for other engineering disciplines and other fields of study is significant. This paper displays and describes the development of a model of the pathways taken by these students through their undergraduate academic careers. Specifically this paper looks at the migration of engineering students within various disciplines of engineering. This study uses the records of over 135,000 engineering student records from the Multiple-Institution Database for Investigating Engineering Longitudinal Development (MIDFIELD). This research shows that approximately 20% of engineering students graduate from an engineering discipline other than that into which they matriculated, and approximately 40% of students who matriculate into an engineering discipline leave the field of engineering. This research also found that there are specific pathways popular with engineering students.
Research conducted over the past two decades has agreed that the rate of retention in engineering ranks amongst the lowest ranging from 30% to 50% nationally1 with an average of less than 50% of initial enrollees2,3. Prior studies with the MIDFIELD database, a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded longitudinal database containing the records of all undergraduate, degree seeking students from fall 1987 to 2005 at ten US institutions has reported numbers at the high end of this range and, more importantly, that engineering retention rate is higher than the typical retention rate in other disciplines in higher education.
Analysis of data from the MIDFIELD database has revealed that the rate of persistence amongst engineering students is not significantly lower than that of students in other disciplines in the database. A study of 70,000 students who enrolled in engineering programs found that engineering actually had the most students (57%) persisting through eight semesters4. Other disciplines had lower rates of persistence (see Table 1). Table 1: Persistence in various major groups to the eighth semester (data from Ohland et. al.4) Other Social Arts and Computer Major Engineering Business STM Science Humanities Science majors % Persisting to 8th 57 55 51 50 41 38 semester
Ricco, G., & Ngambeki, I., & Long, R., & Ohland, M., & Evangelou, D. (2010, June), Describing The Pathways Of Students Continuing In And Leaving Engineering Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16749
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