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Exploring the correlation between students reported self-efficacy and retention

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2020 ASEE North Central Section conference


Morgantown, West Virginia

Publication Date

March 27, 2020

Start Date

March 27, 2020

End Date

May 20, 2020

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Joseph Dygert West Virginia University

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Ph.D student in aerospace engineering at West Virginia University

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Melissa Lynn Morris University of Nevada - Las Vegas

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Melissa Morris is currently an Assistant Professor in Residence in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She previously served as a Teaching Associate Professor for the Freshman Engineering Program, in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University (WVU). She graduated Summa cum Laude with a BSME in 2006, earned a MSME in 2008, and completed her doctorate in mechanical engineering in 2011, all from WVU. At WVU, she has previously served as the Undergraduate and Outreach Advisor for the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department and the Assistant Director of the Center for Building Energy Efficiency. She has previously taught courses such as Thermodynamics, Thermal Fluids Laboratory, and Guided Missiles Systems, as well as serving as a Senior Design Project Advisor for Mechanical Engineering Students. Her research interests include energy and thermodynamic related topics. Since 2007 she has been actively involved in recruiting and outreach for the Statler College, as part of this involvement Dr. Morris frequently makes presentations to groups of K-12 students.

Dr. Morris was selected as a the ASEE North Central Section Outstanding Teacher in 2018.

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Robin A.M. Hensel West Virginia University

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Robin A. M. Hensel, Ed.D., is the Assistant Dean for Freshman Experience in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University. While her doctorate is in Curriculum and Instruction, focusing on higher education teaching of STEM fields, she also holds B.S. and M.A. degrees in Mathematics. Dr. Hensel has over seven years of experience working in engineering teams and in project management and administration as a Mathematician and Computer Systems Analyst for the U. S. Department of Energy as well as more than 25 years of experience teaching mathematics, statistics, computer science, and freshman engineering courses in higher education institutions. Currently, she leads a team of faculty who are dedicated to providing first year engineering students with a high-quality, challenging, and engaging educational experience with the necessary advising, mentoring, and academic support to facilitate their transition to university life and to prepare them for success in their engineering discipline majors and future careers.

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The Academy of Engineering Success (AcES), supported by an NSF S-STEM grant since 2016, employs literature-based, best practices to support and retain students in engineering. AcES students participate in a one-week summer bridge experience; a common fall semester course focused on professional development, time management and study skills, and career exploration; and a common spring semester course emphasizing the role of engineers in societal development. Students are also immersed in co-curricular activities with the goals of fostering feelings of institutional inclusion and belonging in engineering, providing academic support and student success skills, and professional development.

AcES students participate in the GRIT, LAESE, and MSLQ surveys at the start and end of each fall semester and at the end of the spring semester each year. Focus group data is collected at the beginning, middle and end of each semester and one-on-one interviews occur at the start and end of each semester. The surveys provide a measure of students’ GRIT, general self-efficacy, engineering self-efficacy, test anxiety, math outcome efficacy, intrinsic value of learning, inclusion, career expectations, and coping efficacy.

A previous study, based on an analysis of the 2017 AcES cohort survey responses, produced a surprising result. When the responses of AcES students who retained were compared to the responses of AcES students who left engineering, those who left engineering had higher baseline values of GRIT, career expectations, engineering self-efficacy, and math outcome efficacy than those students who retained. These results appear to support the Kruger-Dunning effect. This paper presents the subsequent analysis of two years of participant data, the 2017 and 2018 cohorts, to further explore the possibility or the strength of this effect for these students and investigates possible reasons for the results.

Dygert, J., & Morris, M. L., & Hensel, R. A. (2020, March), Exploring the correlation between students reported self-efficacy and retention Paper presented at 2020 ASEE North Central Section conference, Morgantown, West Virginia. 10.18260/1-2--35734

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