June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.1171.1 - 12.1171.10
PREDICTORS OF SUCCESS IN THE FIRST TWO YEARS: A TOOL FOR RETENTION
Retention is a significant issue in engineering education. The ability to identify factors in student records which best predict academic success can be a very important tool in developing and implementing the timely and focused interventions which are an essential part of a strategic plan to improve retention rates. This paper presents a study conducted to improve retention rates by using step wise regression to identify the most significant factors to predict undergraduate grade point average at the end of the freshman and sophomore years. The model examines standardized test scores, rank in high school class, and various measures of high school grade point average for three different years of performance. The results show that, for this sample of first and second year students, un weighted high school grade point average and rank in high school graduating class are the most important predictors of college grade point average success. Standardized test scores were not significant predictors.
Retention of engineering students is a continuing concern among university academic programs nationwide. In improving retention, engineering educators have spent significant effort in identifying relationships between various measures of success and prediction variables. In this way, it may be possible to identify targeted interventions to improve success or prevent failure. As a result of these efforts, a variety of multi-variable models have been developed to predict various measures of student success using a range factors.
In one example, Takahira et al.1 found that the primary factors associated with persistence in an engineering statics course were GPA and SAT-math scores. Another study reported a positive effect of an entrepreneurship program on GPA and retention.2 Other researchers found scores from a non-technical, writing assignment was a predictor of academic success of freshmen engineering students as measured by cumulative grade point average after completion of the first two semesters.3
Other models have been more complex. Student success and persistence were examined by French et al.4 using hierarchical linear regression. They examined both quantitative variables (SAT scores, high school rank, university cumulative grade point average) and qualitative variables (such as academic motivation and institutional integration). For measures of success they used junior and senior GPA, university enrollment and major enrollment over six and eight semesters. The study found that SAT scores, high school rank, and gender were significant predictors of GPA and that an orientation course was ineffective.
Zhang et al.5 evaluated a number of factors and their impact on engineering student success as measured by graduation rate. Using a multiple logistic regression model and data from nine institutions, they examined the impact on college graduation of high school GPA, gender, ethnicity, quantitative and verbal SAT scores, and citizenship and their impact on graduation.
Kauffmann, P., & Abdel-Salam, T., & Dail Garner, J. (2007, June), Predictors Of Success In The First Two Years: A Tool For Retention Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2367
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