June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Educational Research and Methods
This research paper investigates motivations and decision-making of undergraduate engineering students. Building on prior research exploring major selection across many disciplines and demographic groups, this work examines response data from students in engineering majors across four years of undergraduate study. All these students began their undergraduate programs as “pre-majors” in engineering. At this large Midwestern public university, engineers are not fully admitted to their majors until prerequisite coursework is complete. The coursework required for admittance can vary from discipline to discipline. This variation as well as variation among application deadlines and GPA cutoffs across discipline can play a role in whether a student pursues the major they entered university intending to pursue. At the time of the final survey, these students were in their fourth year of study. These students throughout the four years chose a variety of paths; some stayed in the same concentration of engineering from pre-major to graduation, and some left engineering altogether. This collection of data allows a unique comparison between individuals who remain in engineering throughout college, and individuals who begin their studies intending to pursue engineering, but at some point choose to leave engineering altogether. The paper primarily focuses on survey response data from this group of students collected during their fourth year. Our analysis examines comparisons between responses among students in their first year with whether those students eventually leave engineering. We use this information to compare students who stayed in engineering against those who left using quantitative data on how certain and interested they initially were in engineering as well as qualitative responses describing why they switched disciplines or left engineering.
Tanner, K., & Kecskemety, K. M., & Kajfez, R. L. (2019, June), Examination of Student Choice to Remain in Engineering Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32773
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