Work in progress - What are you thinking? Over confidence in first year students

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Conference Proceeding

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Michigan Technological University is one of the nation's largest engineering schools (900+ first year students) and houses a large common first year engineering curriculum. The purpose of this curriculum is to introduce many of the fundamental components of engineering. One of these components is the use of modern computational and programming tools to solve engineering problems. This paper continues a long-term study that began in 2007 and focuses on student confidence with the use of computational tools. On the first day of class, students were surveyed on their proficiency with the use of spreadsheets. Students self reported levels of proficiency from expert to no experience. Students were then asked a simple question regarding a spreadsheet cell equation. Over three years only 16% of the students were correct, while 90% self ranked as familiar or better. A gender bias was noted as women under estimated their skills while men overestimated their own abilities. This study contributes to the growing body of knowledge of gender confidence gaps. Additionally, it lays the groundwork for creating an assessment plan to identify the preparedness of incoming students and measure their skill at the end of the course. © 2010 IEEE.

Publication Title

Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE