The study investigated whether community college engineering student success was tied to a learning community. Three separate data collection sources were utilized: surveys, interviews, and existing student records. Mann-Whitney tests were used to assess survey data, independent t-tests were used to examine pre-test data, and independent t-tests, analyses of covariance (ANCOVA), chi-square tests, and logistic regression were used to examine post-test data. The study found students that participated in the Engineering TLC program experienced a significant improvement in grade point values for one of the three post-test courses studied. In addition, the analysis revealed the odds of fall-to-spring retention were 5.02 times higher for students that participated in the Engineering TLC program, and the odds of graduating or transferring were 4.9 times higher for students that participated in the Engineering TLC program. However, when confounding variables were considered in the study (engineering major, age, Pell Grant participation, gender, ethnicity, and full-time/part-time status), the analyses revealed no significant relationship between participation in the Engineering TLC program and course success, fall-to-spring retention, and graduation/transfer. Thus, the confounding variables provided alternative explanations for results. The Engineering TLC program was also found to be effective in providing mentoring opportunities, engagement and motivation opportunities, improved self confidence, and a sense of community. It is believed the Engineering TLC program can serve as a model for other community college engineering programs, by striving to build a supportive environment, and provide guidance and encouragement throughout an engineering student's program of study.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/james-maccariella/1/