ERIC Number: ED419696
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998
Women and Men of the Engineering Path: A Model for Analyses of Undergraduate Careers.
This monograph provides college academic administrators, institutional researchers, professional and learned societies, and academic advisors with information to improve understanding of the paths students take through engineering programs in higher education. The evidence used in this study comes principally from the 11-year college transcript history (1982-1993) of the High School & Beyond/Sophomore Cohort Longitudinal Study, as well as the high school transcripts, test scores, and surveys of this nationally representative sample. This is the first national tracking study of students in any undergraduate discipline that identifies attempted major fields from the empirical evidence of college transcripts. A "curricular threshold" of engineering was defined, and the careers of students described with reference to that threshold. While 16 long-term "destinations" of students who reached the threshold are identified, they are collapsed into four for purposes of analysis: (1) thresholders, who never moved beyond the requisite entry courses; (2) migrants, who crossed the threshold of the engineering path, began to major in enginering, but switched to other fields or left college altogether; (3) completers, some of whom continued on to graduate school by age 30; and (4) two-year-only students, whose college experience was confined principally to engineering tech programs in community colleges. Findings are presented in seven parts: (1) "Engineering Paths as Established by Students"; (2) "The Content of Their Curriculum"; (3) "Engineering and Science: Confusing Signs along the Path"; (4) "Antecedents of the Engineering Path"; (5) "Choosing the Engineering Path"; (6) "Learning Engineering: Migration and Traffic"; and (7) "Experiencing Engineering: Classroom Environments, Credit Loads, and Grades." A concluding section presnts suggestions for changing the image of engineering among high school students and potential college majors, particularly women. Suggestions are also provided to other disciplines for undertaking similar tracking studies, particularly in fields where men have been a distinct minority. Contains 131 references and an appendix. (AA)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Career Awareness, Career Education, College Curriculum, Educational Experience, Engineering, Engineering Education, High Schools, Higher Education, Majors (Students), Undergraduate Study
U.S. Government Printing Office, Superintendent of Documents, Mail Stop: SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-9328.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Postsecondary Education, Libraries, and Lifelong Learning (ED/OERI), Washington, DC.; National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: National Inst. for Science Education, Madison, WI.; National Center for Improving Science Education, Washington, DC.