June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Educational Research and Methods
22.1307.1 - 22.1307.9
Socioeconomic Trends in Engineering: Enrollment, Persistence, and Academic AchievementSocioeconomic status (SES) is a growing issue in educational equity, diversity, and policy research.Previous work suggests that STEM majors, in addition to having higher measures of academicachievement, also come from higher socioeconomic strata. The goal of this study is to identifyrelationships between socioeconomic status indicators and engineering enrollment, persistence, andacademic achievement. Academic variables (engineering enrollment, persistence to the 3rd semester,and first year GPA) are drawn from the Multiple Institution Database for Investigation of EngineeringLongitudinal Development (MIDFIELD) database and high school codes are used to link data from theNational Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Percentage of students eligible for free and reducedlunch at each high school is used as an indicator of socioeconomic status. While this variable does notgive a direct indication of an individual student’s household socioeconomic status, it does indicate thesocial and cultural capital that the student is exposed to in his or her academic environment, and thuscultures his or her habitus (as defined by Bourdieu). Logistic regressions are used to identify trends inengineering enrollment and persistence while linear regression is used for GPA. Using regressiontechniques allows us to determine the predictive power of our SES indicator.While many studies have examined engineering enrollment, persistence, and academic achievementand a significant amount of literature exists regarding socioeconomic status, the intersection of thesetwo is virtually non-existent. This work begins to bridge the gap between engineering education and SESresearch by linking two substantial databases. The NCES database includes all public schools in the U.S.and the MIDFIELD database currently represents ten institutions and approximately one tenth of all U.S.engineering graduates. As new institutions are added in the future, a similar protocol can be used toexpand this research further. Issues identified in this study will be used to generate SES models specificto engineering that can begin to inform academic policy, as well as the recruiting and advising ofstudents from all strata of socioeconomic status.
Orr, M. K., & Ramirez, N. M., & Ohland, M. W. (2011, June), Socioeconomic Trends in Engineering: Enrollment, Persistence, and Academic Achievement Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18499
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