East Lansing, Michigan
July 26, 2020
July 26, 2020
July 28, 2020
In 2014, the College of Engineering considered establishing admissions criteria beyond the basic requirements to enter the University. With the hopes of increasing second-year retention and graduation rates, the College wanted to create their own admissions criteria that would exclude students from entering the college until they were eligible to enroll in a math course of pre-calculus or higher. The dean of the college, however, championed the under-prepared and often minority students who typically require this remedial math course. In fall 2014, the faculty voted not to create additional admissions criteria but instead to create a new path that would hopefully increase the success in math and engineering academics in this under-prepared student population.
Since the First-Year Engineering Program began in 2007, the second-year retention rate has ranged from 67-71%. Four-Year graduation rates for the college of engineering averaged 30% from 2007-2013 but increased to 32% in the 2014 and 36% in the 2015 freshman classes. Five-year graduation rates average 45% from 2007-2013 and increased to 48% for the 2015 freshman class. At our University, students are placed into a math course based on their ACT or SAT math scores or through AP or college credit for a prerequisite course. Previous to 2014, all students who wanted to major in engineering began their course of study in Introduction to Engineering I. This course covered unit conversions, dimensional analysis and basics of programming; it was assumed that students had sufficient skills in college algebra. Beginning in 2014, students who placed into a math course of pre-calculus or higher took the Introduction to Engineering Course sequence as defined by the eight-semester degree plans. Students who did not have the math requisites were required to take a remedial engineering course called Success in Engineering Study that focused on study skills and math skills development with the learning outcome of becoming successful engineering students. The students who successfully completed their remedial math course then moved on to Introduction to Engineering I.
Approximately 85% of our first-year engineering students qualify to enroll in a math course of pre-calculus or higher, and 15% qualify for college algebra. Conclusions on the success of the Success in Engineering Study course are constrained because of limited data (low n values) and some statistical analyses showed no significant improvement in retention and graduation although meaningful positive trends were observed. Thus, we continue to look for significant changes in student success as more students participate in Success in Engineering Study. We continue to consider other ways of retaining this population of students.
Massey, L. B., & Galbraith, A., & Schluterman, H. A., & Crisel, B., & Rainwater, C. A. (2020, July), Success in Engineering Study of Under-Prepared Students Paper presented at 2020 First-Year Engineering Experience, East Lansing, Michigan. https://peer.asee.org/35778
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