Uncovering Students' Enrolment Patterns

Uncovering Students’ Enrollment Patterns Leading to Dropping Out vs. Success from the SFU Engineering Program

Project Team: Marek Hatala (Interactive Arts and Technology, SFU), Michael Sjoerdsma (Engineering Science, SFU), Phil Winne (Education, SFU)

SFU’s Engineering program is highly-demanding. Not surprisingly, many students experience academic difficulty. Some recover and some drop out. Unexpectedly, a relatively large number of students in good standing leave the program. The School of Engineering wants to understand: what predicts students sliding into the academic difficulty, what path is taken by students who recover as contrasted to those who drop out, and what leads to students in good standing leaving the program?

More importantly, are there curricular factors that could be adapted to mitigate this problem? Are there early predictors of students' difficulties or departure? The team will collect, clean, organize and analyze the enrollment data of Engineering students over a 10-year period. Designing a

generic analytic procedure, with the expertise in engineering curricula, identifies students who are on a path leading to academic difficulty. This will help SFU’s academic support staff and faculty to intervene early, benefiting students through extra support and guidance to reduce dropping out of programs. Additionally, faculty and decision makers will benefit from

information about students' paths in order to adjust curricula to better support student success.