The Gendered Effect of Cooperative Education, Contextual Support, and Self-Efficacy on Undergraduate Retention

Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 103, No. 4, pp. 599-624, 2014

51 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2015

See all articles by Joseph A. Raelin

Joseph A. Raelin

Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business; University of Cape Town (UCT) - Graduate School of Business

Rachelle Reisberg

Northeastern University

Margaret Bailey

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

Jerry Hamann

University of Wyoming

David Whitman

University of Wyoming

Leslie Pendleton

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Background:

Longstanding data have established that women earn about 20% of undergraduate degrees in engineering. It has also been reported that women students have lower academic self-efficacy in the STEM fields than men. In this study, we seek to probe into these findings through a longitudinal design that explores whether cooperative education can improve the retention of women (as well as of men) in their undergraduate studies.

Purpose:

This study examines the effect on retention of demographic characteristics, cooperative education, contextual support, and three dimensions of self-efficacy – work, career, and academic – and their change over time. It incorporates longitudinal measures as well as a data check at the end of the students’ fifth year.

Design/Method:

Respondents filled out 20-minute surveys, spaced out over approximately one year during three separate time periods. A number of new scales were introduced and validated in the study. The data were submitted to successive analyses over each time period.

Results:

The findings verified the study’s pathways model. Academic achievement and academic self-efficacy as well as contextual support in all time periods were found to be critical to retention. Work self-efficacy, developed by students between their second and fourth years, was also an important factor in retention, though it was strongly tied to the students’ participation in co-op programs. Higher retention was associated with an increased numbers of co-ops completed by students.

Conclusion:

This study has revealed that the reciprocal relationships between work self-efficacy and co-op participation and between academic self-efficacy and academic achievement play a critical role in retention.

Keywords: student retention, self-efficacy, work self-efficacy, cooperative education, contextual support, women in engineering

JEL Classification: I20, I21, J24, M12, M53

Suggested Citation

Raelin, Joseph A. and Reisberg, Rachelle and Bailey, Margaret and Hamann, Jerry and Whitman, David and Pendleton, Leslie, The Gendered Effect of Cooperative Education, Contextual Support, and Self-Efficacy on Undergraduate Retention (2014). Journal of Engineering Education, Vol. 103, No. 4, pp. 599-624, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2591389

Joseph A. Raelin (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - D’Amore-McKim School of Business ( email )

360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.leaderfulconsultancy.com

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Graduate School of Business ( email )

Cape Town, Western Cape
South Africa

Rachelle Reisberg

Northeastern University ( email )

220 B RP
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Margaret Bailey

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) ( email )

Rochester, NY 14623
United States

Jerry Hamann

University of Wyoming ( email )

Box 3434 University Station
Laramie, WY 82070
United States

David Whitman

University of Wyoming ( email )

Box 3434 University Station
Laramie, WY 82070
United States

Leslie Pendleton

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University ( email )

250 Drillfield Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
United States

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