June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Cooperative & Experiential Education
23.1190.1 - 23.1190.26
The Effect of Cooperative Education, Contextual Support, and Self-Efficacy on the Retention of Undergraduate Engineering StudentsAbstractThis study examines the effect of demographic characteristics, cooperative education, contextualsupport, and three dimensions of self-efficacy and their change over time on the retention ofundergraduate engineering students. It is based on a pathways model that links contextualsupport and cooperative education and other forms of student work experience to self-efficacy asa basis for retention in college and in the engineering major. It is also longitudinal; so itexamines measures at three time periods during the students’ academic experience: the second,third, and fourth years.The data pool was constituted of all second-year students in the colleges of engineering fromfour participating universities. Student respondents initially filled out a 20-minute survey,among which were assessments of three forms of self-efficacy. They then filled out comparablepost-surveys one and two years later (as third and fourth-year students) during which thoseselecting co-op could have completed their first and second co-op placements.The findings verified the pathways model. Academic self-efficacy and contextual support in alltime periods were found to be critical to retention. Contextual support was found to beparticularly important to women and appears to serve as an inducement to stay in school and inengineering. Work self-efficacy, developed by students between their second and fourth years inschool, was also an important factor in retention, though it is strongly tied to the students’participation in co-op programs.Besides academic self-efficacy, the overwhelming critical predictor of retention was the numberof co-ops a student participated in. Among the demographic variables, a relatively high GPAwas found to be an inducement to persist in engineering and in school. It was also found, at thesecond survey point of the study, that a student’s prior SAT scores had a measurable effect onretention.Among the contextual support variables, support from friends and from one’s college was foundto explain retention at the time of the first survey reflecting on their freshmen year experience.In an unexpected but modest finding, those students who persisted in the major and in schoolwere more critical of their instructors than those who left. Finally those students who wereaccustomed to work over a relatively long period of time were especially more inclined to leavethe university compared to those who had less work experience in their lifetimes.The findings for co-op and contextual support in this study confirm the value of strong college-industry partnerships to provide quality placements for vital entry experiences within theworkplace and to provide support, especially to women undergraduates, in the form of campusengagements to urge students to graduate and enter the engineering workforce.
Raelin, J. A., & Bailey, M. B., & Hamann, J. C., & Whitman, D. L., & Reisberg, R., & Pendleton, L. K. (2013, June), The Effect of Cooperative Education and Contextual Support on the Retention of Undergraduate Engineering Students Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22575
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