Freshmen Perception and Attitude
Two instruments have been used, in paper and Web-based forms, to provide a quantifiable measure of students' subjective experiences during their freshman year in the engineering program at Texas A&M University. The Freshman Engineering Attitude Survey (FEAS) was designed to measure freshman engineering students' attitudes towards communication skills, integration of knowledge, lifelong learning, technological skills, and teaming experiences at the end of the freshman year. The Freshman Engineering Perception Test (FEPT) was designed to measure students' perceptions of their precollege experience and its usefulness, their academic preparation, and their study and work preferences. The FEPT is administered as a pre- and post-test during the freshman year and both the "pre" and "post" versions target a number of the same factors as the FEAS, in addition to addressing math/science fundamentals. The additional focus of the posttest FEPT was measuring students' perceptions of academic experiences specific to their freshman engineering program. Individual item responses are made on ordinal response scales. Both the FEPT and the FEAS yield separate measures for each of several multi-item subscales; both instruments have undergone evolution and have been used in outcomes research and evaluation for various programs. The relationship between the two measures is currently under study, and item analyses, as well as studies of the instruments' validity and reliability, are ongoing.
Contact Dr. Rita Caso-Esposito, Associate Director, Texas A&M University System Alliance for Minority Participation, Texas A&M University