June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.926.1 - 26.926.13
Improving Student Success and Retention Rates in Engineering: An Innovative Approach for First-Year CoursesTo strengthen the commitment of first-year engineering students and improve retention rates, aninnovative approach has been developed linking student development focused first-year coursesand a project called “Design Your Process of Becoming a World-Class Engineering Student”.Set within developmental first-year courses, the project challenges students to design theirindividually tailored learning process to have a significant impact on their academic success byimproving the students’ skills, confidence and motivation to succeed in engineering.The approach is currently implemented in over 30 institutions nationwide. The results from twofour year institutions one year after initial implementation are presented.Initial results from the first institution showed that the approach of linking a student developmentcourse and the “Design Your Process of Becoming a World-Class Engineering Student” projecthad a positive impact on first-year engineering student retention and performance. Thecumulative GPA of the students who took the course (N=151) was 3.00 after the first year,compared to 2.51 (N=112) of the control group, showing a statically significant difference(p<0.001). The retention rate after one year was not found to be statistically significant at the fivepercent level (p=0.08), however, an increase from 79.5% to 87.4% in the first year retention ratewas observed.Although the sample size at the second institution was significantly smaller, the results areremarkably similar to the first institution. The cumulative GPA of the students who took thecourse (N=17) was 3.04 after the first term, compared to 2.48 of the control group (N=17).Instead of retention rate, the percent of students in good academic standings was measured,showing 88.2% of students who took the course were in good academic standing after the firstterm, compared to 70.6% of the control group. Data will be reassessed in October of 2014 toascertain the impact of the course one year after implementation, and results will be included inthe final version of this paper.The implementation at both institutions was accomplished cost neutral; the only investment wasthe time by the faculty to re-design the course content. Based on the first year implementationresults from both institutions, the approach of linking a student development course with the“Design Your Process of Becoming a World-Class Engineering Student” project is an effectivemethod to improve engineering student success and retention rates, because it can beimplemented virtually anywhere with minimal cost and change of curriculum.
Peuker, S., & Schauss, N. A. G. (2015, June), Improving Student Success and Retention Rates in Engineering: An Innovative Approach for First-year Courses Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24263
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