June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Educational Research and Methods
22.1526.1 - 22.1526.10
Time to completion of an Engineering Baccalaureate at Texas A&M UniversityIn depth studies on the retention and graduation of entire populations or cohorts of engineeringstudents are commonly done by colleges, and often comparisons are made by ethnicity andgender. However, studies on the time to completion of the first year of so-called “barrier”coursework are less common, as is the time to completion of an engineering degree. This wasrecently conducted on the 1998 and 1999 cohorts of engineering students enrolling in the DwightLook College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. Statistical analysis was conducted ontime to completion of what the College terms Core Body of Knowledge (CBK), or the first yearchemistry, mathematics and physics coursework for entering first time engineering students, andsubsequent graduation of students completing the CBK. The presentation and paper will present findings from two linked studies will be presentedfor engineering students who initially declared one of five engineering majors (Civil, Electrical,Chemical, Mechanical, and Computer) that most colleges of engineering across the nation offer.A cohort graduation study was conducted on 1186 first-time entering students in the Fall 1998and Fall 1999 cohorts who completed the College of Engineering’s “core body of knowledge”,or CBK – a series of initial coursework for engineering majors. Findings included that of the 1186 students in the 1998 and 1999 cohorts who completedCBK and progressed to upper division, 1063 (89.6%) had earned a degree in engineering bySpring 2009. Of these 1186 students, 878 (82.6%) were male and 185 (17.4%) were female,almost exactly the male/female ratio of the original cohorts: 82.4% male and 17.6% female. Thisdiscovery contrasts with the national retention rate of 60% for engineering and 42% for computerscience and indicates that once Texas A&M engineering students complete CBK, their chancesof graduation with a degree in engineering are very high. On the average, it took both men andwomen more than 4 ½ years to graduate, and women graduated slightly faster than men, whichwas statically significant at the p <.01). The paper will present findings includingthe correlation of completion of CBK to semesters to graduation, analysis by gender andethnicity, and difference in grade points by gender. Though studies of this nature may beconsidered common, few have taken such a large cohort and followed it through graduation andrelating these findings to time to completion of CBK, which research indicates are the barriercourses to completion of an engineering degree. Also considered in this study are financial needstatus and whether students transferred to other majors related to time to completion of CBK andtime to graduation.
Hobson, M., & Kimball, J. (2011, June), Time to Completion of an Engineering Baccalaureate at Texas A&M University Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18482
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