July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Introduction: Most literature in engineering education focuses on the problems or barriers to teaching undergraduate engineering students . In professional settings, it has been implied being successful is having the ability to get the job done . If the purpose of education is to prepare students to be successful in school and beyond, then we must start by understanding the stories of how students succeed in school.
Background: In this paper, different definitions of student success in school are described. Then these definitions are contrasted with the students’ experiences. While the common student success outcome is graduating with a degree, this paper focuses on student experiences of success. Upper-class undergraduate chemical engineering courses, technical electives, were targeted. These courses were targeted because students taking these courses are unlikely to switch majors. Additionally, it was presumed that these students in these classes have had a high-point or successful instance while studying chemical engineering.
Methods: Multiple methods were used to collect data. Demographic information, the grit-S, and engineering identity instruments were collected for chemical engineering students at a research institution via Qualtrics. Two students consented to participate in the semi-structured interviews. This pilot contrasts Kate and Dan’s quantitative measures of success (GPA, grit, engineering identity) with their qualitative experiences from the interview. Additionally, Kate and Dan’s engineering identity scores were compared to ‘other’ senior engineering students’ scores to describe the different ways of defining success.
Results: When asked about success in the classroom, Kate responds, “success is a state function.” A state function means the path taken from A to B isn’t dependent on the route taken. “Grades are not a reflection of success in the classroom… I think someone who goes to the professor for help and is able to admit they need help from the professor or classmates… Success in the classroom is about is making a conscious effort.”
Conclusion: Kate’s descriptions highlight the importance of “showing up” to the classroom and recognizes they need help. Kate labels success in engineering courses as being more than grades and underscores the need for collaboration to succeed. Furthermore, her peers/cohort and college mentors were pivotal in thriving. “To learn the material meant you being collaborative and able to interact with your professors… I think [collaboration] is more reflective of success and of course getting an A. And That’s coming from someone who gets A’s in courses.”
Gammon-Pitman, R. W., & Ding, L. (2021, July), Pilot: “Success is a State Function”—Ways of Viewing Student Success Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37579
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