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Foundational Predictors Of Success In The Collegiate Engineering Program

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Cognitive and Motivational Issues in Student Performance II

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.761.1 - 12.761.12



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Paper Authors


Victoria Robson Virginia Tech

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Victoria Robson is a doctoral student in Industrial Organizational Psychology at Virginia Tech. Her dissertation focuses on the role of the self-concept plays in forming leadership perceptions. During her tenure at Virginia Tech, Victoria has worked in the Office of Academic Assessment. The Office of Academic Assessment is responsible for assessing student outcomes across the university.

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Vinod Lohani Virginia Tech

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VINOD K. LOHANI is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). He received a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Virginia Tech in 1995. His areas of research include engineering education, international collaboration, and hydrology & water resources.

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Tanner Bateman Virginia Tech

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Tanner Bateman is a graduate student in Industrial Organizational Psychology at Virginia Tech. His masters thesis examines the exploration of a motivation traits framework. Throughout his tenure at Virginia Tech, Tanner has taught Introduction to Psychology and worked in the Institutional Research and Planning Analysis Office. In addition, he currently serves as graduate assistant to the Director of Academic Assessment.

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

Foundational Predictors of Success in the Collegiate Engineering Program Abstract

Several engineering and education faculty at Virginia Tech received a Department Level Reform (DLR) grant from NSF in 2004 to reformulate Freshman Engineering (also called General Engineering (GE)) and Bioprocess engineering using a spiral approach. The Office of Academic Assessment assisted the DLR investigators with the development and implementation of an assessment component of the DLR project for continuous improvement of the GE program. A central element of this component was a series of targeted assessments designed to identify predictors of success in the freshman year as well as ways to improve the curriculum. Beginning in fall 2004, data was gathered using: i) New Student Survey, ii) Learning Styles Questionnaire, and iii) Programming concepts test as a part of a GE course called “Engineering Exploration EngE1024.” About 3000 engineering freshmen have participated in these surveys during 2004- 06. A series of regression analyses were conducted to explore what factors predicted success for fall 2004 cohort, represented by the final semester grade in first engineering course (EngE 1024), cumulative GPA, and engineering retention two years later (i.e., end of spring 2006 semester). Results revealed that learning style preferences and demographic variables had a minimal influence on EngE1024 grade. SAT scores and programming concepts post-test scores were the best predictors of course grade. The paper also presents results related to the impact of prior college experiences on engineering major retention rates.

1. Background and Purpose

A new Department of Engineering Education (EngE) was created within the College of Engineering (COE) at Virginia Tech in May 2004 to improve engineering pedagogy. The EngE is responsible for conducting a year long freshman engineering program (also called General Engineering (GE) program). Approximately, 1200 engineering freshmen join GE program every year. Another primary mission of the EngE department is to carry out rigorous research in the area of engineering education and support the research agenda as brought out in the October 2006 issues of the Journal of Engineering Education [1]. Such rigorous research efforts in “engineering education” require collaboration between engineering and education faculty within and outside the university. A NSF supported planning grant under “Bridges for Engineering Education” program laid the foundation of engineering-education collaboration at Virginia Tech [2] . One objective of the planning grant was to create a contemporary framework for undergraduate engineering pedagogy, beginning with freshman engineering experiences. The investigators of this planning grant (engineering and education faculty) proposed to reformulate engineering curriculum using a spiral approach. This approach is adopted in a 4-year (2004- 2008) implementation grant under a Department-Level Reform (DLR) program of the NSF (hereafter referred to as DLR project). As part of the DLR project, a number of EngE faculty members are collaborating with faculty from other engineering departments and the School of Education to reformulate the freshman engineering program within the EngE and the bioprocess program within the Biological Systems Engineering (BSE) department using a theme based spiral curriculum approach [3]. One of the objectives of the DLR project is to develop a continual assessment plan to measure the impact of the reformulated curricula, faculty improvement

Robson, V., & Lohani, V., & Bateman, T. (2007, June), Foundational Predictors Of Success In The Collegiate Engineering Program Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2281

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