This project started at the end of 2016. We’re confident that our work will have important impact for students and their institutions.
We expect to develop categorizations of NCA profiles for students in engineering and computing to aid educators and academic support staff in helping students. From our analysis, we can identify the NCA profiles of students who enroll in engineering and computing programs within our partner institutions as well as on a national level. We will be able to draw conclusions about both traditional and latent diversity in our sample, and the cognitive and NCA characterizations of each.
The most significant outcome from RQ2 is the predictive model including an individual student’s obstacle(s) in the analysis. We expect the paired analyses will substantially extend our current understanding of how NCA factors and obstacles together mediate academic performance. This addresses the serious deficiency in the literature described in Section 2. We also expect to identify mediator variables across the entire NCA space, thereby substantially extending our understanding of NCA predictors of academic performance. Much current research focuses on mindset, but we expect to develop a richer characterization of how mindset and other NCA factors affect engineering and computing student performance after experiencing one or more obstacles. These conclusions will surely influence the interventions developed in RQ3. It is also possible that our data will drive changes in our survey instruments. For instance, it is possible that homesickness could be a central obstacle for first-year or transfer students, and this may inspire the addition of the Homesickness Questionnaire ,  or similar instrument to the NCAI to characterize transition issues.
We expect significant contributions in two areas. First, the systematic study of the ‘same’ intervention operationalized at three different campuses will truly advance our understanding of the different ways interventions can be deployed, the success of each, and the perception of participants about the intervention’s value. We expect the interventions to be valuable and successful in each instance, and that the value can be characterized by changes in NCA profile and/or improvements in academic performance. Second, we expect to contribute to the body of knowledge of how interventions can be successfully transferred and adapted to different institutions and settings. Although no universal design principles currently exist, we expect to inform future research by clearly articulating the opportunities and barriers present in this project.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DUE-1626287 (Purdue), DUE-1626185 (Cal Poly), and DUE-1626148 (UTEP). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.