Canadian Consulting Engineer

Why engineering students might quit

"Studies have found that roughly 40 per cent of students planning engineering and science majors end up switching to other subjects or failing to get any degree....

November 8, 2011   Canadian Consulting Engineer

“Studies have found that roughly 40 per cent of students planning engineering and science majors end up switching to other subjects or failing to get any degree….

“In September, the Association of American Universities, which represents 61 of the largest research institutions, announced a five-year initiative to encourage faculty members in the STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] fields to use more interactive teaching techniques….

“The latest research also suggests that there could be more subtle problems at work, like the proliferation of grade inflation in the humanities and social sciences, which provides another incentive for students to leave STEM majors. It is no surprise that grades are lower in math and science, where the answers are clear-cut and there are no bonus points for flair. Professors also say they are strict because science and engineering courses build on one another, and a student who fails to absorb the key lessons in one class will flounder in the next.

“After studying nearly a decade of transcripts at one college, Kevin Rask, a professor at Wake Forest University, concluded last year that the grades in the introductory math and science classes were among the lowest on campus.”

From “Why Science Majors Change Their Mind (It’s Just so Darn Hard),” by Christopher Drew, New York Times, November 4, 2011.


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