June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.1682.1 - 26.1682.11
Using Strengths of First-Year Engineering Students to Enhance TeachingAbstractAnnually, thousands of students enter first-year engineering, each having their own distinctpersonality type. Students attend classes taught by instructors using methods that work forstandardized groups but that are rarely modified for individual students. This can become aconcern with larger class sizes where lecture-style teaching methods are prevalent and remain thesame from year to year. At the end of first year only a fraction of the students remain. Attritionrates of engineering have been reported to be between 40-60%.Studies done almost two decades ago found a strong link between personality type and academicsuccess. In particular, there were several studies that used Myer’s Briggs typing as the method ofanalysis in an attempt to direct teaching practices. To date, an entire body of literature has nowbeen devoted to engineering education with the pursuit of enhancing the education of first-yearengineers. The need for engineers in our increasingly complex world as the baby boomers retirehas never been more apparent. It is necessary to minimize attrition rates to satisfy this need.Risk assessment models can be created which use student identifiers to predict the probability ofstudent success. One hypothesis is that attrition rates can be correlated with learning styles,which in turn can be correlated with strength typing. In order to test this hypothesis, we begin bystudying the traits of first-year engineering students using the Clifton StrengthsFinder®assessment tool. The Clifton’s StrengthsFinder® tool is a combined strengths/leadership/teambuilding tool that has been used in a variety of situations to categorize areas of strength forindividuals. Previous research has postulated a connection between personality typing andstrengths profiling. It has been also found that first-year engineering students at XXXX have asomewhat definitive strengths signature with data obtained from a an ongoing longitudinal study.Using this five year longitudinal study, a multivariate statistical analysis has been performed todetermine the groups of traits (strengths) that first-year engineers possess and the variation ofthese traits from year to year. A comparison of the traits with those of a “model engineer” ismade elucidating shortfalls in the current curriculum. Finally, we discuss how to foster thegrowth of the missing traits in first-year students to ensure that they are well rounded andmoving forward in their career.
Lorimer, S., & Davis, J. A. (2015, June), Using Strengths of First-year Engineering Students to Enhance Teaching Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.25018
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