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June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Educational Research and Methods
This Work in Progress seeks to better understand what relates prior achievement to future achievement. College entrance exams, such as the ACT and SAT, and high school GPA (HSGPA) are commonly used for college admission decisions because they are believed to predict achievement. While HSGPA tends to be a consistent predictor of achievement, prior studies have conflicting results as to whether or not college entrance exams predict academic achievement in engineering, especially beyond students' first year of college  - . In Expectancy-Value Theory, Eccles and Wigfield suggest that perceived competence may be an important mechanism relating prior achievement and future academic success and persistence . Examining this psychological mechanism may improve the understanding of how prior achievement and perceived competence influence engineering achievement and persistence . Furthermore, it is unclear if a students' racial group membership affects how entrance exam scores and HSGPA predict future achievement and persistence , . As engineering student populations often do not reflect the diversity of student bodies as a whole, it is also important to consider the social pressures minoritized students face that may deflate or inflate their perceived competence, and in turn affect their achievement and persistence ,.
In this work in progress, we are addressing the following research questions: 1) How are college entrance exam scores and HSGPA related to changes in perceived competence and in turn related to college GPA, degree attainment, persistence, and career intentions among engineering students? 2) Do the relations in the overall model vary among White, Asian, and minoritized students (i.e., Black and Latinx)? We hypothesize that prior academic achievement will be related to growth (or less reduction) in perceived competence, and, in turn, will predict academic achievement. Additionally, we hypothesize that minoritized students will have differential relations among prior achievement, changes in perceived competence, and future achievement ,.
The present study uses longitudinal data from a large, public, midwestern university. Specifically, our sample includes approximately 900 engineering students (25.8% Female, 20.5% Asian, 64.6% White, and 14.9% minoritized students). The data include institutional academic data (to measure achievement and persistence) and self-reported measures of perceived competence in engineering across four years of college. We are testing a latent growth model to determine the trajectory of engineering students’ perceived competence as a function of college entrance exams and HSGPA over four years. Initial descriptive analyses indicated that college entrance exams and HSGPA are correlated with students’ perceived competence and achievement. However, mean scores of students’ perceived competence showed declines over time.
This study begins to address gaps in the engineering education literature, where few studies examine motivational constructs or longitudinal data . Furthermore, understanding how perceived competence changes over time will inform interventions, curriculum design, or teaching practices that aim to support engineering student motivation, persistence, and achievement. In addition to understanding how prior achievement relates to the trajectory of students’ perceived competence and engineering persistence, this study will provide new insight about minoritized students’ sense of perceived competence in engineering.
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Lawson, H. D., & Lira, A. K., & Lee, A. A., & Lee, M., & Linnenbrink-Garcia, L., & Walton, S. P., & Briedis, D. (2020, June), Predicting Engineering Student Success: An Examination of College Entrance Exams, High School GPA, Perceived Competence, Engineering Achievement, and Persistence Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35072
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