Assessing Student Preparedness for Introductory Engineering and Programming Courses

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2017 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) (2017)

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Our introductory electrical engineering courses still have high attrition rates which raises the question of how to identify students who may be at risk of failing or withdrawing from engineering courses and programs. We have experimented with two different approaches: one is to develop tests that are deployed early in student engineering coursework, and another is to measure student success in prior math courses. Math preparation is the basis of two of the tests, with one also including logic and algorithmic thinking. Preliminary results indicate that purely math-based tests did not correlate well with success in either an introductory problem-solving and programming course, or a sophomore circuits course. A test that includes logic and algorithmic thinking correlated better, but not as well as prior math GPA. All methods currently suffer from large scatter and relatively small correlation factors.



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