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Recitation In Core Engineering Mechanics Courses: Implications For Retention And Student Performance

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Innovations in Mechanical Engineering Education Poster Session

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1227.1 - 12.1227.8



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Paper Authors


Messiha Saad North Carolina A&T State University

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Messiha Saad is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University. He received his Ph.D. from North Carolina State University. He taught mechanical engineering core courses for more than twelve years; he also teaches internal combustion engines, design of thermal systems, and related courses in the thermal science areas. He is a member of ASEE, SAE, and ASME.

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Taher Abu-Lebdeh North Carolina A&T State University

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Dr. Abu-Lebdeh obtained his doctorate degree in Structural engineering from Louisiana State University. He taught civil and core engineering courses for about twenty years. Dr. Abu-Lebdeh research interests are in civil engineering and highway infrastructures, structural mechanics, and constitutive modeling of material behavior. He had co-authored about 17 papers, and research reports. Of this total, 12 papers have been published after peer review.

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Devdas Pai North Carolina A&T State University

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Devdas M. Pai is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at NC A&T State University and Associate Director of the Center for Advanced Materials and Smart Structures. He teaches manufacturing processes and tribology related courses. A registered Professional Engineer in North Carolina, he serves on the Mechanical PE Exam Committee of the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors and is active in several divisions of ASEE and ASME.

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Cindy Waters North Carolina A&T State University

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B.S. Materials Science, Virginia Tech, M.S. Materials Science, Virginia Tech, PhD. Mechanical
Engineering NCA&T State University. Research interests include advanced materials, thin films
and biomaterials.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Recitation in Core Engineering Mechanics Courses: Implications for Retention and Student Performance


In an ongoing attempt to improve undergraduate education and increasing student retention, the College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T State University adopted a new system in which recitations become an integral part of core engineering mechanics courses including: Statics, Dynamics, and Mechanics of Materials. Under the new lecture-recitation system, each course contains two one-hour lectures, and one two-hour recitation. The entire class attends the lectures in which the faculty member covers the general topics and provides related sample problems. There are multiple recitation sections operated by the same instructor, consisting of typically 15-20 students, in which students review their lecture notes and solve selected problems. These problems are typically selected from the homework assignments; previous tests and quizzes; and from the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam review materials.

Recitation sections will also help students with non-traditional learning styles to more quickly understand the subject. This in turn will improve retention and result in much-improved course grades and improved FE exam scores for the students, thereby positively affecting the overall academic success of the college.

This paper contains summaries of some of the most recent observations on the role of recitation in increasing student retention and performance. In this investigation the following three core engineering courses are used: Statics for architectural, civil, and mechanical engineering students (CAAE331/MEEN335); Dynamics for architectural, civil, and mechanical engineering students (CAAE 334/MEEN 337), and strength of materials for civil and mechanical engineering students (CAAE332/MEEN336).


In college classes, lectures are still the primary mode of content delivery to students. The disadvantages of such methods are: (1) students cannot remember all of the lecture material; (2) students typically record only 20-40% of the important lecture ideas; (3) approximately 80% of what is not noted is forgotten after two weeks; (4) lecturing technique is a one-way teaching process (students receive information delivered by faculty). On the other hand, recitation (usually, small class size), allows instructors to become more familiar with their students' strengths, learning styles, and problem areas. It also gives teachers enough time to work more efficiently with students who need extra help. By having smaller classes, teachers are better able to get to know their students, and to develop strategies for helping them succeed by providing more learning options. Research has shown that classes with fewer than 20 students can improve student academic achievement and are particularly beneficial for disadvantaged students (U.S. Department of Education, 1999). Recitation sessions may be considered as diagnostic assessments that help instructors develop early intervention strategies and turn, to stop

Saad, M., & Abu-Lebdeh, T., & Pai, D., & Waters, C. (2007, June), Recitation In Core Engineering Mechanics Courses: Implications For Retention And Student Performance Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2889

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015