Leonhard E. Bernold, Ph.D. was principal investigator on the research project and associate professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering, College of Engineering, North Carolina State University.
Understanding Our Students: A Longitudinal-Study of Success and Failure in Engineering With Implications for Increased Retention
Article first published online: 2 JAN 2013
2007 American Society for Engineering Education
Journal of Engineering Education
Volume 96, Issue 3, pages 263–274, July 2007
How to Cite
Bernold, L. E., Spurlin, J. E. and Anson, C. M. (2007), Understanding Our Students: A Longitudinal-Study of Success and Failure in Engineering With Implications for Increased Retention. Journal of Engineering Education, 96: 263–274. doi: 10.1002/j.2168-9830.2007.tb00935.x
- Issue published online: 2 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 2 JAN 2013
- underrepresented minorities
In spite of considerable research about the poor retention rate of undergraduate engineering students, we still have an inadequate understanding of the factors that affect students' decisions to remain in engineering programs and their ability to perform well enough to be retained. Although continued study is needed of external factors such as curricular requirements, admissions criteria, and test scores, we also need to know much more about the relationships between curricular experiences and students' learning styles, habits, and attitudes. The work presented in this paper was designed to enhance educators' understanding of the factors that underlie the concern about student retention in engineering. By observing 1,000 engineering students during their first three years in college, the research team generated a large database on the students' academic and non-academic characteristics as well as their successes and failures. The traits discovered not only support many findings from previous studies but also reveal some new relationships that could prove essential to designing an educational environment that will prepare engineers for success in the future.