Abstract

This is an evidence-based paper based on research that has shown faculty beliefs influence their classroom practices and reformed teaching methods like engagement teaching improve student performance and retention in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. To better understand the relationships between faculty beliefs and practice and student outcomes such as performance and attitudes, three tools were utilized. The first tool is a 24 question guided interview to gauge general beliefs towards teaching; the second is the Approaches to Teaching Inventory (ATI) that measures faculty beliefs towards instructor-centered knowledge transmission and instructor-centered strategies versus student-centered conceptual change intention and strategies. Lastly, the third tool is the Reformed Teaching Observational Protocol (RTOP) which is an observational protocol that quantitatively measures degree of student-centered classroom behaviors. By combining ATI and RTOP scores with emergent theme (ET) analysis on relevant interview questions, faculty characteristics influencing student outcomes can be determined. This work addressees the research questions, "What is the relationship between faculty beliefs and practice?" and "What is the relationship between faculty practice and student outcomes?" 30 faculty members who teach freshman or sophomore level science, math, or engineering courses at a large, southwestern university were interviewed about their teaching beliefs, were surveyed using the ATI, and were observed using the RTOP. Interview questions were analyzed using emergent theme analysis and related to their ATI responses and RTOP scores. The interview question responses were coded numerically as either teacher-centered (-1), student centered (+1), or mixed/neither (0) using the dimensions of the ATI as a basis. The total RTOP scores, the ATI dimension scores, and the sum of the interview ET analyses for every faculty member were then ranked in ascending order. Using Spearman's rank correlation, the relationships between the ATI, RTOP, and ET analysis were found. It was discovered that two of the four dimensions of the ATI were correlated to the ET analysis at the 90% confidence level and that teacher practice was related to ATI. Finally, the grade distributions were examined for the classes that we observed and were correlated to teacher practice. The ratios of the grades ABC to DEW and ABC to DE were higher for the instructors with higher RTOP scores than for instructors with lower RTOP scores. The findings indicate that faculty beliefs and practices are related and that they relate to student performance. It follows that by shifting the beliefs of faculty members towards student-centeredness, there would likely be a positive change in student outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2016 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
Volume2016-June
StatePublished - Jun 26 2016
Event123rd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2016Jun 29 2016

Other

Other123rd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
CountryUnited States
CityNew Orleans
Period6/26/166/29/16

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

Cite this

Smith, B. B., Park, Y. S., Ross, L., Krause, S., Chen, Y-C., Middleton, J., Judson, E., Culbertson, R., Ankeny, C. J., Hjelmstad, K., & Yan, C. Y. (2016). Faculty characteristics that influence student performance in the first two years of engineering. In 2016 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition (Vol. 2016-June). American Society for Engineering Education.