Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 25th Nov 2020, 03:55:28pm SAST

Session Overview
Progression, retention, attrititon and persistence
Wednesday, 18/Nov/2020:
4:45pm - 5:45pm

Session Chair: Karin Wolff
Location: Studio 1

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The relationship between mindset and academic achievement at university: A quantitative study of South African students

Mashudu Mokhithi, Anita L. Campbell, Jonathan P. Shock

University of Cape Town, South Africa

The majority of studies investigating the social psychology theory of growth and fixed mindsets have taken place in primary and secondary schools outside of Africa. In this study, we investigate the effects of mindset on first-year students' academic achievement at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. The Theories of Intelligence Scale (TIS) questionnaire was used to measure students’ mindsets across three first-year courses and the period of several mathematics tests.

Both the effect on students’ progress across tests and between different courses was studied with respect to mindset. Statistical analysis showed that students in science and engineering programs had higher mindset scores than commerce students. Mindset scores did not significantly predict engineering students’ performance in an introductory calculus course. The results of this study will guide future research into the effect of non-cognitive factors such as mindsets on the academic achievement of engineering students.

Female Enrollment and Persistence in Chemical Engineering at a Caribbean National University and their Employment Success after Graduation

Paula Olesia Verona Henry, Marvette Ava-Gaye Hall, Dianne Alecia Plummer

Univeristy of Technology, Jamaica

In recent times, there has been a drive to increase the number of engineering graduates in Jamaica as well as to encourage females to pursue professions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). With universities outputting approximately 200 graduates in engineering disciplines annually, the graduates are forced to compete for placement in the island’s relatively small manufacturing and processing industries. It is therefore imperative that employment prospects for female STEM graduates be elucidated to better devise strategies to promote and increase the number of females enrolled in STEM degree programs. This study investigates female enrollment and persistence in the chemical engineering (ChE) program at the University of Technology, Jamaica. The method employs a longitudinal cohort analysis to examine gender differences in enrollment, persistence to graduation, and the class of award obtained at graduation. The research focuses on 12 ChE cohorts from 2004 to 2015. The employment profile of female graduates is also assessed. Findings show that although females represent 41% of enrolled students in semester 1, they are more likely to complete their degree in 4 years, obtain better award quality, and less likely to withdraw from the program. Most female graduates receive employment within the first year after graduation with 59.4% in STEM-related occupations and 19% in unrelated fields. This work contributes to the literature on engineering education in the Caribbean and it is the first of its kind to be done for the local university.

The validity of international instruments for assessing South African engineering students

Celeste Combrinck, Helen Inglis

University of Pretoria, South Africa

This study examines the validity of three international instruments for assessing South African first-year engineering students. The Grit-S, Dweck's Implicit Theories of Intelligence Scale (ITIS), and the Revised Purdue Spatial Visualization Test: Visualisation of Rotations (PSVT:R) were assessed for internal functioning and usefulness in predicting engineering drawing subject marks. Grit-S and ITIS were chosen as they may offer potential areas for intervention to enhance psycho-social adjustment to university. The PSVT: R was administered as it was expected to have a relationship with engineering drawing, and spatial reasoning is a skill that can be taught, which will assist first-year engineering students. The study found that Grit-S was not internally reliable and valid for assessing our engineering students. Both Grit-S and ITIS had low discrimination, with most students strongly agreeing with the statements. The overly positive responses to the instruments led to no predictive power. The PSVT:R had a small but significant relationship to the engineering drawing semester mark as well as evidence for internal reliability and validity. Constructs such as Grit and mindset may need to be recontextualised for the African setting, or the instruments would need to be redesigned to offer greater discrimination power. Only the PSVT:R showed some potential for predicting first-year engineering achievement in the graphics module.

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