In this extended abstract, we present the preliminary results of a study examining the effects of precollege engineering programs and activities on first-year engineering students. Students in a first-year engineering program at a large public university were asked to fill out a survey detailing their experiences with engineering prior to college. The students indicated the settings where they encountered engineering prior to college, named and described the various activities that they participated in and the approximate amount of time they spent doing each activity. Participants also provided demographic information.
Preliminary results show that at least thirteen percent of students enrolling in first-year engineering classes at the university have had significant exposure to engineering prior to college. High school classes are the most common way that students are exposed to engineering content, followed by extra-curricular activities, middle school classes, and summer camps. While the majority of respondents reported participating in one or two different activities, some reported participating in as many as nine different precollege engineering programs or activities. Students interested in each of the major engineering disciplines responded to the survey; however interest in several disciplines were reported at very different rates than their proportional representation at the university.
This survey represents the first part of a multi-year, NSF-funded study of the effects of precollege engineering programs on first-year engineering students. The results of the survey were used to select a sample of students to interview about their experiences, and analysis of these interviews will be used to construct an instrument to measure the effects of precollege engineering activities in a larger sample population of first-year engineering students.
- precollege engineering,
- college transition
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/noah_salzman/2/