June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Two Year College Division
23.650.1 - 23.650.7
Gritty students: The effect of perseverance on retention for traditional andnontraditional studentsIt is important to examine characteristics that contribute to successful retention in an engineeringprogram, particularly among nontraditional and transfer students. One characteristic trait thathas been experimentally linked to success is grit, which is defined as “perseverance and passionfor long-term goals” (Duckworth 2007). Although grit is widely seen as a personality trait, it hasalso been shown to be something that people can be taught; that is, interventions can be enactedto increase a person’s grit. The simplicity of measuring someone’s grit score, and the straight-forward intervention path for those with lower scores, makes this trait an attractive candidate forexamination among students. Preliminary studies establish net grit scores of students atbeginning stages of the engineering program, at a two-year and four-year institute. Intermediateand advanced students within a mechanical engineering program are also studied. Thelongitudinal aspect of this study will follow individuals as they progress through or abandon theprogram.The mechanical engineering program has a collaborative program relationship with thirteen two-year Colleges that allows any student who has achieved an associate’s degree to stay at their two-year Colleges campus while obtaining a mechanical engineering BS degree from the four-yearinstitution. This program increases educational access to nontraditional, place-bound studentsacross the state.Preliminary results of a longitudinal study involving grit in nontraditional and traditionalstudents are presented. While the longitudinal study involves following students throughouttheir academic career, this study compares grit scores between groups of students at differentacademic stages. Traditional students are surveyed at a freshman introductory Success Skillscourse, and nontraditional and traditional students at the Colleges are surveyed in a transfer-equivalent course. Traditional and nontraditional students are surveyed together in anintermediate course, which is one of the first that students take after having been accepted intothe mechanical engineering program, early in their junior year. Students are surveyed again intheir senior design course. Comparisons are made between the different academic levels as wellas between traditional and nontraditional students, with attention paid to confounding factorssuch as gender and racial identity.BibliographyDuckworth, A.L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M.D., Kelly, D.R. "Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-termgoals." Personality Processes and Individual Differences, 2007: 1087.
Lerner, A. A. (2013, June), Gritty students: The effect of perseverance on retention for traditional and nontraditional students Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19664
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