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Statistical Approach for Measuring the Effectiveness of a Remedial Program for Low-Achieving Undergraduate Engineering Candidates in Peru

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Tools of the Trade

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1321.1 - 22.1321.14



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Paper Authors


Valeria Quevedo Universidad de Piura

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Associate Professor, Industrial Engineering Department

Academic Director, Industrial Engineering Department

Master of Management in Operations Research, Sauder School of Business, Canada

Industrial Engineer, Universidad de Piura, Peru

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Susana Vegas Universidad de Piura

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Principal Professor at Universidad de Piura, Peru,
Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Universidad de Piura, Peru,
Doctor in Engineering Sciences, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, 2009,
Master in Engineering, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, 2005,
Industrial Engineering, Universidad de Piura, Peru, 1994

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Reynaldo Villar Universidad de Piura

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Principal Professor. Universidad de Piura, Perú.
Industrial engineering, Universidad de Piura, 1978 - 1984.

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Despite some improvements in the last years, the Peruvian primary and secondary educationsystem (public and private) has one of the poorest qualities among Latin American countries.Peruvian high school students consistently rank at the bottom places in two of the most importantinternational programs for student evaluation (PISA and LLECE). Given this poor academiclevel, most of the students that start a university career do not meet the minimum academicstandards. As a consequence, a high proportion is likely to fail the first semester at the university,and many of them have to leave, particularly in careers that need good foundations in Math andSciences. In order to improve this situation, the Engineering Faculty at a private university inPeru, designed and introduced an “introductory semester” in its curricula. The introductoryprogram aims to provide the students the basic knowledge they missed in high school and that isneeded for undergraduate studies; thus, they can face the Engineering program in a better way.This “introductory semester” is mandatory to all students who scored below a cutoff grade duringan evaluation program taken by all admitted students. The students who score higher than thecutoff grade go directly to the first “standard” semester of the program.In order to prove the effectiveness of the introductory semester, we gathered data from 2006 to2009 and conducted several statistics tests. Our preliminary results are encouraging, showing thepositive impact of this program. Taking those students who scored just below and just above thecutoff grade (as these are very likely to be similar in terms of observable and unobservablecharacteristics), we use regression discontinuity (RD) and ANOVA analysis to estimate the realeffectiveness of the “Introductory semester”. Our RD findings, suggest that the impact of thisprogram is substantial, we find that the probability of passing all the courses in the first“standard” semester is around 30% higher for those students who were assigned to the“Introductory semester”.

Quevedo, V., & Vegas, S., & Villar, R. (2011, June), Statistical Approach for Measuring the Effectiveness of a Remedial Program for Low-Achieving Undergraduate Engineering Candidates in Peru Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18614

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