Academic Journals Database
Disseminating quality controlled scientific knowledge

Who leaves and who stays? Retention and attrition in engineering education

Author(s): Elizabeth Godfrey | Tim Aubrey | Robin King

Journal: Engineering Education
ISSN 1750-0044

Volume: 5;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 26;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: retention | attrition | engineering education research

At a time of high demand for engineering graduates, the mean graduation completion rate of engineering undergraduates in Australia has been identified as approximately 54% (with considerable variation across institutions and sectors). Such a proportion of non-completions has been viewed as an excessive loss to the qualified workforce of Australia. Broad brush, government-collected statistics do not, however, provide the level of detail required to understand who leaves, when and why they leave and where they go. This paper reports on a pilot study undertaken to precede and inform final decisions on research design and methodology for a multi institutional project seeking to understand and reduce student attrition from engineering degrees across Australia. The aim of the project is to produce guidelines on curriculum formulation and delivery strategies to reduce attrition from engineering programmes while meeting course outcomes.The pilot study was conducted at an institution which has a relatively diverse range of students (a high proportion of whom study part time) and engineering degree structures incorporating traditional and internship-based degrees. Results from a cohort analysis which tracked pathways to completion or non-completion of the degree for the cohorts from two specific entry years are presented. From this analysis, groups of students who "persisted over long periods", "switched to another degree" or "withdrew from the university" were identified and interviewed. Their experiences and stories formed an essential pathway to a better understanding of the dynamics of retention/attrition and factors which required further investigation before the multi institutional study began.
RPA Switzerland

RPA Switzerland

Robotic process automation


Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona