Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Women in Engineering
The purpose of this study was to analyze relationships among students’ use of supplemental instruction (SI)—such as tutoring, office hours and group study—in a first-year engineering course, factors that may predispose a student to use such support, and the impact of SI on both grade within the course and GPA after three semesters. Factors considered included a student’s self-reported gender, their previous experience with resources for SI, their intended major, and their perception of the importance of the course for their engineering degree. Based on previous demonstration of the association between use of SI in courses taken during a student’s first semester in college and long-term academic success, identifying incoming student populations less likely to seek SI resources could be impactful in improving long-term student academic success and retention, particularly of females, in undergraduate engineering programs.
The population considered in this study consisted of students enrolled in the General Chemistry for Engineers course for freshmen during the fall 2016 semester at Northeastern University. Students were surveyed to obtain information on their background and attitudes, to report their experiences with SI prior to entering college, and to evaluate their experiences with SI at the end of the semester. The surveyed population was comprised of 375 students, of which 37% were female. Data for male and female subpopulations were analyzed and compared in order to determine what factors influenced their use of resources for SI during this course and the impact of this use on course grades and GPA after three semesters.
It was found that whether or not a student used SI during their first semester in college had a greater impact on long-term academic success for women than for men, with females who used SI for freshman chemistry tending to have higher GPAs after three semesters than their male counterparts. Prior use of SI in high school was predictive of whether a student used SI during their entering semester. The importance a student placed on freshman chemistry also correlated with the student's use of SI in the course. Students who were undecided in their engineering major upon entering college tended to have higher grades in freshman chemistry and GPAs after three semesters if they perceived chemistry was important for their engineering degree. These findings suggest greater encouragement of the use of SI in gateway science classes by females and students undecided in their engineering major in particular can impact their academic success.
Cole, T. B., & Kaeli, E., & Priem, B. J., & Ghio, C., & DiMilla, P. A., & Reisberg, R. (2018, June), The Influence of Preconceptions, Experience, and Gender on Use of Supplemental Instruction and Academic Success in a Freshman Chemistry Course for Engineers Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31116
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