Part time study distorts student attrition rates in engineering programs

Gibbings, Peter and Godfrey, Elizabeth and King, Robin and Wandel, Weide (2010) Part time study distorts student attrition rates in engineering programs. In: 21st Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AaeE 2010): Past, Present, Future - the 'Keys' to Engineering Education Research and Practice, 5-8 Dec 2010, Sydney, Australia.

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Standard four-year full-time engineering degrees commonly take eight years when studied part-time by distance education and this can distort apparent retention and attrition rates. Recent publications indicate the national part-time annual retention rate for engineering degrees at regional universities is 62.85%. Extending this over eight years, only 2.4% of part time students who enter the program could be expected to graduate. Whilst most would agree that this graduation rate is quite ridiculous, what would be a reasonable graduation rate? This paper presents empirical data to determine the actual graduation rates achieved with a predominantly part time cohort of students at a regional university. The results highlight the
inappropriateness of generic retention and degree completion models when comparing small regional universities where the majority of students are of mature age and study part time, with large urban universities where the majority of students are school leavers and are studying full time. If retention and completion rates are to be introduced as performance indicators in the
higher education sector, the findings of this study have the potential to contribute to the development of appropriate models. It was reassuring that the retention and completion rates achieved at this university are significantly better than the quoted national averages.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2010 Australasian Association for Engineering Education. The authors assign to AaeE and educational non-profit institutions a non-exclusive licence to use this document for personal use and in courses of instruction provided that the article is used in full and this copyright statement is reproduced.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Surveying and Land Information
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2011 05:56
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2017 00:12
Uncontrolled Keywords: part-time study; engineering; attrition rates
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation
09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099999 Engineering not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930199 Learner and Learning not elsewhere classified

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