WIDER: EAGER: Championing Educational Change through Assessment for the Next Generation of Engineers Success (CHANGES)

Project: Research project

Description

Summary - Championing Educational Change through Assessment for the Next Generation of Engineers' Success (CHANGES) This EAGER (Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research) project will engage in comprehensive evaluation of the extent of implementation of evidence-based instructional practices and the factors that influence them in the Fulton Engineering Schools at Arizona State University (ASU). A web-enabled assessment framework and processes created here will be utilized to generate information used to inform planning and provide input data for a larger WIDER (Widening Implementation and Demonstration of Evidence-Based Reforms) proposal with potential for facilitating systemic change. Such a project could improve student creativity, knowledge and skills, motivation, engagement, and retention. A major emphasis here will be on courses and faculty teaching them for lower level freshman and sophomore general and disciplinary core engineering courses as well as foundational courses of math, chemistry and physics. Any remaining engineering faculty will be included along with an upper division course they teach. The data, evaluation, and recommendations from this project would be used both to plan for reform and as a foundation for developing a WIDER project proposal. Implementation would increase students' quality of learning, persistence and graduation rates. This effort builds on innovations across coursework for lower level engineering students that has been a critical focus area for the past two years. Research on undergraduate success has found some critical factors that need simultaneous development to increase student motivation, achievement, and retention in STEM fields. Chief among these are concern about students sense of belonging in that: 1) students make connections with faculty in their chosen field; and 2) students make connections with other students. These two factors are among the most critical overall, because they focus on the emotional needs of (typically) young people who are often away from home for the first time, and are just learning the norms, expectations, and practices of university life. STEM coursework in particular has been shown to turn off such young people, to a great extent because faculty are seen as unresponsive and uncaring for freshmen as individuals. Large class sizes and course assignment practices contribute to this phenomenon. Students more often receive poor grades in STEM courses in their first two years than other fields, and they tend to drop out of engineering at a higher rate than other majors. Some research, however, shows grades in STEM subjects are not as important as the ways students are enculturated, and how their learning needs are addressed. However, student learning and enculturation is related to evidence-based practices with factors at multiple levels. As such, these multi-level factors need to work in concert to support students continuing success and engagement in engineering as a discipline. Specifically, in this proposal, we will study the impact of these factors and their interactions, as related to evidence-based-practices, that occur in a system with influencing effects occurring at five levels. The levels include: Level 1 Faculty Beliefs and Attitudes; Level 2 Classroom Effects; Level 3 Co-curricular Experiences; Level 4 Departmental Culture; and Level 5 Interdepartmental Coordination and Interaction. A Logic Model will be used to create a systems model that incorporates the mutual effects of each variable on the others towards the improvement of the system and its impact on student creativity, motivation, knowledge and skills, engagement and retention. Thus, the impact on student success of future innovations at any Level could be tracked by the system
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date9/15/128/31/16

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $298,854.00

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educational research
grant
engineer
reform
evidence
student
engineering
learning
creativity
innovation
enculturation
achievement motivation
concert
system model
interaction
drop-out
persistence
physics
data analysis
research project