The Effects of a First Year Engineering Class Using the SCALE-Up Method on Student Retention and Subsequent Student Pass Rates
Due to the increased demand for engineers, the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) created a new, first year engineering class using the Student-Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies (SCALE-Up) method to specifically address engineering student retention by encouraging student persistence and success throughout their academic career. Since UTA enjoys a very diverse student population with varying learning styles, socio-economic backgrounds, and prior knowledge and preparation, the SCALE-Up method was chosen due to its reliance on problem-based, active learning strategies, peer instruction through teamwork, and peer leaders within the classroom. After two and a half years of implementation of this class, known as ENGR 1300 – Engineering Problem Solving, this paper will explore the first year and second year engineering retention rates. This comparison will show that engineering retention rates have increased since ENGR 1300 was implemented. Further, this paper will show this increase occurs across multiple student type groups, provided that the student take ENGR 1300 in their first semester. Finally, to assess the positive effects of the new class, this paper will show that the pass rates of three subsequent mechanical engineering classes, Statics, Dynamics, and Strength of Materials, increased after ENGR 1300 was implemented.