|Abstract or Summary
- The problem of dropouts in engineering schools is an important
one. This study examined the factors which affect dropouts in
schools of engineering. Do these factors operate differently for
students who do all their work at one institution than they do for
students who transfer into the school of engineering from other institutions?
The present study was an attempt to answer this question
as well as to determine, if possible, the factors relating to success
in the engineering field. The word success as used in this study was
defined as the successful completion of an engineering curriculum at
Oregon State College leading to a degree in that field.
To obtain the information necessary questionnaires were distributed
to freshman, sophomore and junior students in the School of
Engineering at Oregon State College. The usable replies were divided
into two major groups totaling 262 cases. The first group, the native
group, consisted of those students who had enrolled as freshmen in the
School of Engineering at Oregon State College and contained 132 cases
broken down into the following engineering fields: electrical engineering,
54; mechanical engineering, 24; civil engineering, 47; and
industrial engineering, 7. The second group, the transfer group, was
made up of those students who had taken college work in another institution
before transferring to the School of Engineering at Oregon
State College. This group numbered 130 cases broken down into the
following engineering fields: electrical engineering, 39; mechanical
engineering, 30; civil engineering, 54; and industrial engineering, 7.
From the answers given on the questionnaires, it was possible to
obtain an indication of the relationship between the factors being
investigated and engineering success with respect to both native and
transfer students. The results indicated that this relationship was
a varying one, but the limited nature of this study made it impossible
to draw conclusions of an absolute and final nature. However, the
following factors did seem to be related in some degree to the engineering
success of either the native student group or the transfer
student group alone or of both of them together. 1. Size of the high school graduating class.
2. Number of mathematics courses taken in high school.
3. Combination of certain mathematics courses taken in high
4. Courses in which best grades were received in college,
5. Definiteness of vocational choice prior to entering college.
6. Vocational interest test scores which led to the choice of
an engineering curriculum.
7. Difficulty in reading as indicated by test scores.
8. Felt reading difficulty as indicated by the subjective replies
of the students.
9. Engineering training received in the armed forces.
10. Mathematics courses taken in the armed forces.
11. Motivating forces resulting in the choice of an engineering
profession, primarily (1) experience in the armed forces,
(2) self-interest, and (3) parental preference.