June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Cooperative & Experiential Education
15.890.1 - 15.890.24
Motivation and Maturity of Engineering and Engineering Technology Students with and without Co-Op Experience
Experience-based education in the form of Co-Op is generally accepted as having a positive correlation with a student’s academic and early career performance. Unfortunately, most of the evidence is anecdotal or based on statistical studies of large databases. It does not explain why and how a Co-Op experience correlates with enhanced student or employee performance. This paper proposes a model that can explain how Co-Op experience can result in better grades in school and better performance at work. The paper also describes an experiment performed to determine if students with Co-Op experience are more motivated and mature than students without such experience.
The experiment test volunteers were engineering and engineering technology students from two diverse educational institutions. The engineering students were from an urban campus of a major state university, the University of Michigan-Flint. The engineering technology students were from a private college, the Rochester Institute of Technology. The study used standardized and validated psychological tests in the form of an on-line survey to measure the volunteer’s motivation and maturity. Before the survey, some students had spent one or more terms working in industry as Co-Op interns while others had not. Statistical analysis was used to determine if student volunteers with Co-Op experience also had higher motivation and maturity scores.
The data collected appear to indicate that students with Co-Op experience are more mature than students without Co-Op experience. However, the statistical distributions of motivation scores are similar for both groups and it appears that for the population studied there is no difference between the two groups. Two explanations for the lack of correlation between motivation and Co-Op experience are that 1)the test used to measure motivation cannot discriminate the change for the age and circumstances of the study and 2)the experiment design must be refined to increase randomization and to eliminate confounding variables. Additional research is recommended to validate the model proposed.
Co-Op education is at least 100 years old1. Herman Schneider2 is generally given credit for originating the term and for creating a framework for modern cooperative education in the United States. There is widespread agreement that Co-Op education is beneficial to both employers and students3. Employers benefit because they can tryout a potential employee without making a commitment. Students benefit because they gain experience and have the opportunity to make a good impression on a potential employer.
Blair4 performed statistical analysis and discovered that the Co-Op experience increases a student’s salary after graduation. He also found that the grade point average (GPA) of graduates with Co-Op experience was greater than the GPA of students without the experience. The results
Castro-Cedeno, M., & Mazumder, Q. (2010, June), Motivation And Maturity Of Engineering And Engineering Technology Students With And Without Coop Experience Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15686
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