New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Engineering mechanics forms an essential conceptual foundation for many engineering disciplines and thus are instrumental elements of most engineering curricula. Yet, the conceptually challenging material and overall positioning of these courses in the curriculum often makes fundamental mechanics courses a major barrier for student persistence and success in engineering. Mindful of this, we are particularly interested in how and when students take their mechanics courses and the effects different course planning strategies may have on academic performance. In this particular study, we investigate the critical role of Statics and how strategies to transfer credit in from other institutions for Statics affect performance on the subsequent Mechanics of Deformable Bodies and Dynamics courses.
Reasons an individual might transfer credit from one institution are first classified according to the entering status of the individual as either a transfer or a first-time admit student. Transfer student status includes any student who has previously attended another college or university before coming to the new institution. First-time admit students begin their college career at a particular institution but may, while still working on a degree from that institution, choose to take courses at another institution and transfer courses back to the degree-granting institution. In the case of engineering mechanics courses, formal transfer students may bring in some or all mechanics course credit because of earned Associate’s degrees, preparation curricula for entrance into a four-year engineering program, or transfer from one school’s undergraduate engineering program to another. Reasons for transfer credits as a first-time admit vary significantly; this strategy can be used to catch up or get ahead in one’s curriculum, to circumvent a difficult course by taking it somewhere it might be “easier.” We have transcript data that includes all instances of ESM 2104 (Statics), 2204 (Mechanics of Deformable Bodies), and 2304 (Dynamics) from students over 5 years. The dataset contains 7900 students who have attempted Statics within the time window from a large public research institution, which allows for us to investigate not only the effect of transferring any Statics credit in but also to tag specific profiles of transfer behavior (e.g., students with a failing first attempt who then go take Statics at another institution).
We hope this study generates conversation both at the institutional level and at the student level. Large institutions with growing engineering enrollments need to understand the data to make important policies around enrollment management (e.g., what criteria should be used to determine who is first-in to fill seats in a class with more demand than supply) and transfer credit policies (e.g., what criteria, if any, should be used to determine when classes transfer in). At the individual level, students should understand potential impacts of transfer strategies (e.g., is a work around to avoid Statics at my home institution a good or bad long term strategy?)
Grohs, J. R., & Soledad, M. M., & Knight, D. B., & Case, S. W. (2016, June), Understanding the Effects of Transferring In Statics Credit on Performance in Future Mechanics Courses Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27103
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