June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
Millions of dollars have been spent by agencies of the federal government, corporations and individuals to fund or pay for activities and camps to introduce high school students to, and deepen interest in, engineering and engineering related topics. This paper investigates whether engineering students who participate in these activities and camps have a higher probability of being retained in engineering or perform better in engineering courses compared to students who did not participate. During the first week of their first year in college, 2 cohorts of engineering students (2012 and 2013) at a large metropolitan research university were surveyed as part of a larger study to improve retention and graduation rate in engineering. Within the survey, engineering students were asked if in high school they had participated in any summer camps or extracurricular activities related to math, science, engineering, or computer science (including robotics). Response rates both years were over 90%. Data on retention in engineering and GPA were extracted from student records. The data will be analyzed to determine if the first year retention rate or performance of the students who did participate in these camps or activities was significantly different from those who did not. Analysis will also be performed to determine if the change in interest from the start of the first semester to the end was different for students who did and did not participate in activities and camps. Although students can gain multiple benefits from extracurricular activities and camps, such as friendship, belonging, and improved critical thinking, many of the funders are hoping to also increase interest in pursuing engineering as a career. This study will give us insight into whether or not participation in these programs is related to a student’s retention or performance in engineering.
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