June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.764.1 - 12.764.11
Freshman Engineering Student Responses to a Pre-College Perception Survey
Engineering educators are constantly modifying course offerings and course structure to meet the necessities of our society. One of the ongoing challenges is how to modify the initial contact with students that will encourage them to continue seeking a career in engineering. This involves student recruitment and retention. Our Fundamentals of Engineering and Computer Science (FECS) course at Wright State University has been in place for the past six years and has seen an increase in student retention from 45% to 70%. Improving this retention rate by raising the admission standards is not possible as we have an open enrollment policy set by the state. Therefore, to better understand our students and how they perceive themselves as they enter college, we have been collecting data for the past three years as they take their FECS course using a perception survey at the beginning of the course.
Data collected from the perception survey is the focus of this paper. The database consists of responses from 539 students enrolled in FECS from 2003 to 2005. The course is offered each quarter and results are compared between quarters, between years, and between quarters of each year. Data collected and presented includes the student perceptions on math and science preparation, self appraisal, outside help and teaming. Conclusions are also presented from analysis of the survey data on how our initial interactions with the students could be improved.
Surveys in the literature have focused on how engineering students view their perceptions from pre-enrollment choices, to academic activities support, to why they dropped out. An in-depth analysis of attrition and retention reported on by Shuman, et. al. included five main areas, two at the freshmen level and three at the upper-departmental level.1 At the freshman level those who transferred out or resigned, and those that left while on academic probation were studied. At the upper level those that transferred out in good standing, not in good standing, or went inactive were studied. The two main reasons that freshmen and upper classmen left their programs were due to developing a dislike or loosing interest in engineering. The reasons for this appeared to be dissatisfaction with their “science and math courses” and a “perceived lack of relevance of much of their course work.”
Another study by Amenkhienan and Kogan suggested that individual effort and involvement, peer interaction, and faculty contact had a positive impact on their academic performance.2 This study involved 34 second year students in nine focus groups selected from 200 student volunteers. They were selected based upon gender, ethnicity, and GPA. Study habits, completing homework, willingness to seek outside help, study groups,
Rowley, B., & Yelamarthi, K., & Miller, C., & Bazzoli, T. L. (2007, June), Freshman Engineering Student Responses To A Pre College Perception Survey Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2511
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