July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Our study aims to examine factors that influence the academic achievement and persistence of chemical engineering students in the understudied sophomore year, where many programs observe significant attrition. Specifically, we focus on the constructs of self-efficacy and social support. Research has indicated that these factors can have a significant impact on student experience and student success. We generated surveys which include subscales from validated instruments used in the study of self-efficacy and social integration and administered these surveys to chemical engineering (“ChemE”) students at the beginning and end of the sophomore year. Social Cognitive Career Theory was used to hypothesize the expected (positive) relationships between the factors of self-efficacy and social support and the outcomes of student achievement and persistence. When the data set is large enough, path analysis will be used to test these hypotheses, adjusting for prior achievement using indicators such as first-year GPA. Achievement is measured in the short term by performance in sophomore-level ChemE courses and in the long term by final ChemE GPA. Persistence is measured in the short term by responses to survey questions assessing intent to persist and in the long term by graduation rate.
Additionally, we will test whether participation in a two-day voluntary workshop (the “ChemE Camp”) held just before the start of fall classes has a lasting impact on the factors of self-efficacy and social support. The same surveys described above are administered to camp attendees before and after the camp, and preliminary results show an increase in self-efficacy, social and academic integration, and intent to persist for those who attend. These effects appear to largely sustain throughout the sophomore year, in contrast to the results observed for non-attendees. In this work-in-progress, we share our findings from the most recent academic year illustrating the positive effects of the two-day intervention on self-efficacy and social support.
Cicciarelli, B., & Sherer, E., & Orr, M. K. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Identifying Success Factors for Chemical Engineering Sophomores and Testing the Effects of an Intervention Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38167
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