Demographic Factors And Academic Performance: How Do Chemical Engineering Students Compare With Others?

Rufus Carter, Tim Anderson, Brian Thorndyke, Matthew Ohland, Guili Zhang
2003 Annual Conference Proceedings   unpublished
Using the Southeastern University and College Coalition for Engineering Education (SUCCEED) longitudinal database (LDB), demographics and academic performance measures of undergraduate chemical engineering students were compared with other engineering and nonengineering students. The LDB includes data from nine institutions spanning 13 years, allowing the study of academic performance of students within chemical engineering and elsewhere throughout their undergraduate careers. Charlotte does
more » ... have a chemical engineering degree program, it was excluded from this study. SUCCEED is an ongoing project, and the LDB continues to be updated as data become available. As of the current study, the LDB contained demographic, entrance, term and graduation records of all undergraduate students in these institutes from 1987 through 1998 (and for some institutions, through 2000). This represents approximately 1/12 of the undergraduate engineering population of the United States 6,7 . While the LDB contains data on transfer students as well as first-time-in-college (FTIC) students, this study is limited to FTIC students only. The LDB contains the student major encoded in a 6-digit "Classification of Instruction Programs" (CIP) code. This code is used by all SUCCEED institutions, and permits us to follow the flow of undergraduate students as they change majors, whether between chemical engineering and other engineering subfields or to majors outside engineering. Our demographic and performance comparisons classified the students according to their final major. Among the demographic information available, we focused on gender and citizenship. Students were placed in one of three citizenship categories: citizens, resident aliens, and non-citizens. This information was available for virtually every student record. The demographic comparisons were done for all students enrolled as freshmen in 1987 or later, and graduated by the last term in the LDB. Entrance records provided us with baseline academic data such as student SAT scores (both math and verbal) and high school GPA. While generally complete, one university lacked high school GPAs, while two others lacked both SAT scores and high school GPAs. These institutions were not included in the analysis on their missing variable(s). Finally, term and graduation data permit us to examine performance indicators such as the number of times a student changed major, average semester hours, cumulative semester hours, number of semesters enrolled, time to graduation, and final cumulative GPA. This information was complete for all institutions and virtually every student record. III. Results Our comparisons include all students who matriculated to the University as a freshman and graduated by the end of the LDB records. In the first analysis, we examine the flow of students between chemical engineering and other disciplines. In the second analysis we provide a summary of demographic differences between chemical engineering students, other engineering students, science majors and non-science majors. In the third analysis, we determine significant
doi:10.18260/1-2--11698 fatcat:fbhnzqbd7fdmxiksfxbh7qlfzq