Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session
Undergraduate engineering student success, or potential for success, is traditionally determined by student performance on summative assessments such as exams, standardized tests, or by GPA. Recent literature shows that these traditional metrics may not be adequate measures of student success as even the “best” students (using the above measures) may not succeed in engineering. Rather, the literature suggests that non-cognitive and affective (NCA) factors also play an important role. In our larger grant project, we explore how students’ NCA factors might better predict their success. We also explore whether certain NCA factors are malleable and if initiatives can be developed to support the success of engineering students. The overall project is guided by the following research questions:
RQ1. What are the NCA profiles of engineering and computing students, and to what extent do profiles vary by institution, academic program, demographics, or over time? RQ2. In what ways are NCA factors predictors of academic performance, and how do they mediate a student’s response to academic or personal obstacles they may face? RQ3. To what extent can NCA-based interventions improve academic performance and the perceived quality of the undergraduate experience, and how do students at different institutions experience those interventions?
For the larger project, we have data on 28 different NCA factors from engineering students (n = 2339) at 21 institutions across the United States. We have also obtained institutional records such as those from our Dean of Students and Financial Aid offices for students at the three collaborating institutions on this project.
In the past year, we have used these data to predict various student outcomes and trends in educational pathways. We report on these different efforts in this paper. As a single example, through a scoping literature review and a concurrent Delphi study, we examine how engineering student success has been discussed in the engineering education literature, and compare it to how it is interpreted by academic professionals in engineering. Our goal is to redefine what success means more broadly than academic outcomes. To answer RQ1, we have conducted a cluster analysis of students’ NCA factors and connected those profiles to academic outcomes as well as negative outcomes such as substance abuse and academic dishonesty in college. These results can help us identify sets of NCA factors on which students may need additional support. In support of RQ2, we are using different modeling techniques to determine whether different outcomes such as GPA or retention in different classes or subjects can be predicted by NCA factors.
With the initial understanding of how and why NCA factors are important for engineering student success, we are beginning our future work to answer RQ3. In the coming year, we plan to develop pilot interventions based on malleable NCA factors to determine whether or not pedagogical practices can help students become more successful.
Krest, L., & Major, J. C., & Scheidt, M., & Ge, J., & Self, B. P., & Chen, J., & Widmann, J. M., & Godwin, A., & Berger, E. J. (2020, June), Examining the Importance of Noncognitive and Affective (NCA) Factors for Engineering Student Success Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34618
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