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Work-in-Progress: Investigation of a Fall-to-Spring Performance Drop in a First-year Experience

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Conference

2019 FYEE Conference

Location

Penn State University , Pennsylvania

Publication Date

July 28, 2019

Start Date

July 28, 2019

End Date

July 30, 2019

Conference Session

M1C: WIP - Readiness and Professional Development

Tagged Topic

FYEE Conference - Paper Submission

Page Count

5

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/33744

Download Count

5

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Paper Authors

biography

Todd France Ohio Northern University

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Todd France is the director of Ohio Northern University's Engineering Education program, which strives to prepare engineering educators for the 7-12 grade levels. Dr. France is also heavily involved in developing and facilitating the Introduction to Engineering course sequence at ONU. He earned his PhD from the University of Colorado Boulder where his research focused on pre-engineering education and project-based learning.

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biography

J. Blake Hylton Ohio Northern University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9766-971X

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Dr. Hylton is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Coordinator of the First-Year Engineering experience for the T.J. Smull College of Engineering at Ohio Northern University. He previously completed his graduate studies in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, where he conducted research in both the School of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Engineering Education. Prior to Purdue, he completed his undergraduate work at the University of Tulsa, also in Mechanical Engineering. He currently teaches first-year engineering courses as well as various courses in Mechanical Engineering, primarily in the mechanics area. His pedagogical research areas include standards-based assessment and curriculum design, including the incorporation of entrepreneurial thinking into the engineering curriculum and especially as pertains to First-Year Engineering.

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Lauren H. Logan Ohio Northern University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-2780-5872

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Lauren H. Logan is an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Ohio Northern University. Her research focuses on quantifying the impacts of thermal pollution from thermoelectric-power-plant water use on aquatic ecosystems. She earned her Ph.D. from the Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Lauren is active in Tau Beta Pi, and the Sustainability Committee of the Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) through the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). She is passionate about the recruitment and retention of under-represented minorities into engineering programs, particularly through unique and cross-disciplinary engagement.

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Louis A DiBerardino III Ohio Northern University

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Dr. DiBerardino is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ohio Northern University. His teaching and research interests are in first-year engineering, dynamic systems, and musculoskeletal biomechanics, and integrating curriculum with the entrepreneurial mindset.

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Abstract

This work-in-progress centers on the fall/spring semester juncture of a two-course first-year engineering experience. As a means to provide continuity to the multidisciplinary from one term to the next, the comprehensive final exam in the fall semester is used as the initial homework assignment in the spring. These assessments cover the key content areas of the fall course, namely the engineering design process, mathematical modeling, CAD drawing and technical writing standards, and other foundational areas.

In order to provide timely feedback and mitigate the burden or re-assessing the students on this content, the spring semester homework assignment is delivered by means of a Google Form, whereby the use of an add-on script allows for student submissions to be auto-graded. The add-on script necessitates the use of easily-evaluated question types, including multiple-choice, matching, true/false, and short answer. Student averages for the first-semester exams and associated second-semester homeworks are shown below: - 2017-18: exam = 74%, homework = 68% - 2018-19: exam = 73%, homework = 71%

While the scores are similar, the students have on average fared worse on the homework assignment for the past two iterations. This is particularly troubling given all of the advantages afforded to students on this assignment. In addition to the aforementioned selected-response style of the questions, students are a) encouraged to work with classmates, b) encouraged to ask teaching assistants and their instructors for help, c) have a full week to complete the assignment, and d) have full access to their notes and the fall course’s slide deck.

The purpose of initiating this work-in-progress paper is to investigate the fundamental reason(s) behind this noticeable drop in student performance after the 3- to 4- week winter break. The investigation will focus on identifying the most challenging content areas and potential relationships between student scores and their motivations. In addition to assessment data, students will be surveyed for their own reflections on this anomaly. This initial study is intended to serve as a potential starting point for other educators facing similar performance drops.

France, T., & Hylton, J. B., & Logan, L. H., & DiBerardino, L. A. (2019, July), Work-in-Progress: Investigation of a Fall-to-Spring Performance Drop in a First-year Experience Paper presented at 2019 FYEE Conference , Penn State University , Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/33744

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