Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education

Department

Workforce Education and Development

First Advisor

Asunda, Paul

Abstract

The retention of engineering students has received an abundance of attention in universities and scholarly literature. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) reported, "Only 40-60 percent of entering engineering students persist to an engineering degree, and women and minorities are at the low end of that range" (p. 40). The retention of ESL (English as a second language) students in undergraduate engineering programs has not yet been comprehensively examined. The purpose of this study was to investigate the characteristics, retention rates, and GPAs of ESL students in an undergraduate engineering program. Furthermore, ESL students' retention rates and GPAs were compared to native English speaking students. This study utilized retention data and grade point averages (GPAs) to examine ESL engineering student retention and success. A secondary data analysis examined retention rates and GPAs for ESL students and the comparison group of native English speaking students. Percentages were used to compare retention data from ESL and native English speaking students, and t-tests were utilized to compare their GPAs. The findings of this study revealed that ESL students were retained at a higher rate and maintained higher GPAs compared to native English speaking engineering students. It is anticipated the findings of this study will provide a foundation for future research on ESL students. Based on the findings, researchers can have a basis for comparisons of ESL students' GPAs and retention.

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