Asee peer logo

How First-Year Engineering Students Perceive Their Academic Progress

Download Paper |


2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 8: Academic Progress, Retention, and Mathematics

Page Count


Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Michael Elmore State University of New York at Binghamton

visit author page

Mike Elmore is director of and a visiting associate professor in the Engineering Design Division in the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University, State University of New York at Binghamton, NY. He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY, and a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Binghamton University. He has worked for Lockheed Martin, IBM, General Electric, BAE Systems, and Celestica Corporation. He has 25 years of experience in these companies designing military and commercial power electronic circuits and as a systems engineer for airborne and land vehicle electrical systems. He is a licensed professional engineer. He also received a B.A in philosophy and a M.Ed. from the University of Vermont. Before becoming an engineer he was a high school mathematics teacher.

visit author page


Melissa Simonik

visit author page

Melissa received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Union College (Schenectady, NY) in 2014 and her M.Eng. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) in 2015. Melissa started at Binghamton University in 2015 as a Mechanical Engineering doctoral student. She served as a teaching assistant (TA) for Watson Capstone Projects for two years. She continued as a TA for the Engineering Design Division in 2017 where she taught both Introduction to Engineering Design and Analysis labs and Engineering Communications I and II classes. During that time she also served as a graduate student representative on the mechanical engineering student advisory committee (MESAC). She completed her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2020 with her research focused on design, biomechanics and finite element modeling. In that year, she also became a full-time instructor for the Engineering Design Division in the Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University. She currently serves as the Engineering Communications Coordinator for the first-year engineering program, as well as a faculty member for the Scientista Foundation and ASEE student chapters at Binghamton University.

visit author page

author page

Meghan Crist State University of New York at Binghamton


Koenraad Gieskes State University of New York at Binghamton

visit author page

Koen Gieskes first joined the Engineering Design Division at Binghamton University as a graduate student in 2004, then, in 2009, he was hired on as a full-time lecturer, and in 2017 he became the Assistant Director. In 2022, Koen began serving as the Interim Director. Mr. Gieskes received both his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Binghamton University. In 2019, Mr. Gieskes received the Chancellor's Award in Teaching.

visit author page

Download Paper |


How First-Year Engineering Students Perceive Their Academic Progress

This Complete Research paper will investigate how first-year engineering students perceive their academic progress. First-year engineering students are often under extreme amounts of stress. In their first semester, they are making the transition from high school to a college or university where the rigor of the coursework is above and beyond what they have experienced in the past. Typically, they take a laboratory science course - either Chemistry or Physics - but sometimes both. Additionally, first-year engineering students are expected to be calculus ready and take a calculus course in their first semester. In addition to these courses, students usually take an introductory engineering course and round out their studies with a liberal arts course, if the college or university has a general education requirement. Along with this difficult field of study and rigorous course load, they are adjusting in general to life at a new school and new independence: being away from home for the first time, setting their own schedule, making new friends, navigating campus and finding the resources available, and getting involved with extracurricular activities, and more. The question that presents itself is “How well are these students monitoring their academic progress in the face of all of these new and somewhat unique challenges?” Halfway through their first semester, the first-year engineering students at *university* are surveyed. They are asked one short answer question and twenty-four multiple choice questions. These questions are designed to understand how well students are adjusting to university life. For example, are they familiar with and taking advantage of the academic services and resources offered to students? How do they think they are doing in some of their courses, especially mathematics, science, and engineering? In this study, the final grades earned by the first-year engineering students in their mathematics, science, and engineering courses are compared with the grades they reported in the mid-semester survey. The results of this correlation are compared to the reported degree to which students took advantage of the various campus services designed to help them adjust to university life and how much time per week they spent studying. Was their perceived academic performance accurate? Did they utilize university academic services in response to their perceived academic performance? The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a mostly on-line course experience for first-year engineering students at *university* in the 2020/2021 academic year. In the current 2021/2022 academic year first-year engineering students at *university* are taking classes entirely in-person once again. This study also asks if there are any differences between the mid-semester survey responses and the reported grades due to on-line and in-person methods of instruction in the two academic years.

Elmore, M., & Simonik, M., & Crist, M., & Gieskes, K. (2022, August), How First-Year Engineering Students Perceive Their Academic Progress Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2022 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015