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A Longitudinal Study of Engineering Student Performance and Retention

A Longitudinal Study of Engineering Student Performance and Retention

In a longitudinal study at North Carolina State University, a cohort of students took five chemical engineering courses taught by the same instructor in five consecutive semesters. The course instruction made extensive use of active and cooperative learning and a variety of other techniques designed to address a broad spectrum of learning styles. Previous reports on the study summarized the instructional methods used in the experimental course sequence and described the performance of the cohort in the introductory chemical engineering course. This study examines gender differences in the students' academic performance, persistence in chemical engineering, and attitudes toward their education. The women "exhibited erosion relative to the men in both academic performance and confidence as they progressed through the curriculum." Causes and remedial measures are proposed.

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