June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Educational Research and Methods
23.875.1 - 23.875.13
Longitudinal Study of Entering Students with Engineering as Their Major: Retention and Academic SuccessThe limited number of students pursing engineering as a major and the often high rate ofmigration of engineering students into other majors has been the focus of national concern inrecent years. While students in engineering show a high rate of persistence with 93% of thegraduates from engineering programs being students who entered college with engineering astheir stated major, these programs also have upwards of 50% of their entering students migratingto other majors. To further reduce the potential pool or engineering majors, only 7% of collegestudents are likely to migrate into engineering from other majors. The high rate of persistencedoes not compensate for the loss of majors. The field of engineering has, and continues toexperience difficulty in attracting and retention of majors.This study assessed the role of math readiness and personality factors in retaining undergraduatestudents in an engineering program at a southeastern university. Participants were enteringfreshmen enrolled in an entry level course for students indicating engineering as their chosenmajor. These students were asked to complete a set of surveys their freshman year that includedaffective and metacognitive measures, and they were then followed throughout their academiccareer through graduation or leaving college. These students were also administered a calculusreadiness test (ALEKS) as part of their entry into engineering. The initial data collection beganin the fall of 2007 and continued through the fall of 2010 covering a four year academic yeartime span.While not all students have completed their degree at this time, our proposal assesses theprogress of these students as they have progressed through their academic career. It ishypothesized that retention in an engineering program will be related not only to basic aptitudebut also affective factors. It is also hypothesized that academic success as indicated by gradepoint average (GPA) will be related to both basic aptitude as well as affective factors. Aptitudeis measured by SAT Verbal and Math scores, high school GPA, and an assessment of calculusreadiness. Affective factors are assessed by the NEO Five Factor Inventory and the Nowicki–Duke Locus of Control scale. Metacognitive skills, knowledge about one’s own learning style, ismeasured by the Hall Executive Process Questionnaire. Binary logistic regression analyses willbe used to determine if these measures were predictive of retention as well as GPA during thecourse of these students’ academic career.The study examines the hypotheses that aptitude (SAT scores) and math readiness (ALEKS) aresignificant predictors of retention of entering students with engineering as their stated major.Further it examines whether the personality factor of conscientiousness and openness ispredictive of retention. Finally, with respect to academic success as indicated by GPA, itexamines whether conscientiousness, locus of control and metacognitive skills are significantpredictors.
Hall, C. W., & De Urquidi, K. A., & Kauffmann, P. J., & Wuensch, K. L., & Swart, W. W., & Griffin, O. H. (2013, June), Longitudinal Study of Entering Students with Engineering as Their Major: Retention and Academic Success Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22260
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