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Understanding the Effects of Transferring In Statics Credit on Performance in Future Mechanics Courses

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Teaching & Learning Dynamics, Vibration, and Mechanics More Broadly

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Jacob R Grohs Virginia Tech

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Jacob Grohs is an Assistant Professor in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech with Affiliate Faculty status in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics and the Learning Sciences and Technologies at Virginia Tech. He holds degrees in Engineering Mechanics (BS, MS) and in Educational Psychology (MAEd, PhD).

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Michelle M Soledad Virginia Tech, Ateneo de Davao University Orcid 16x16

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Michelle Soledad is a doctoral student and graduate research assistant in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Her research interests include faculty motivation and development towards supporting student success. Ms. Soledad has bachelor's and master's degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Ateneo de Davao University in Davao City, Philippines, where she continues to be a faculty member of the Electrical Engineering Department. She also served as Department Chair and was a member of the University Research Council before pursuing doctoral studies at Virginia Tech. Prior to joining the Ateneo de Davao University roster of faculty in 2008, Ms. Soledad was a Senior Team Lead for Accenture, where she worked on and managed systems maintenance and enhancement projects.

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David B Knight Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education Orcid 16x16

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David Knight is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education and affiliate faculty with the Higher Education Program, Center for Human-Computer Interaction, and Human-Centered Design Program. His research focuses on student learning outcomes in undergraduate engineering, learning analytics approaches to improve educational practices and policies, interdisciplinary teaching and learning, organizational change in colleges and universities, and international issues in higher education.

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Scott W Case Virginia Tech

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Scott W. Case is a Professor of Engineering Mechanics at Virginia Tech. He has served as associate department head of Engineering Science and Mechanics and as Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs within the College of Engineering.

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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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