A comparative analysis of academic achievement between cooperative and non-cooperative education students within the building science program at Auburn University

Scott William Kramer, Purdue University

Abstract

This study compared the academic achievement of students who participated in a cooperative education program (co-op students) with the academic achievement of those students who did not participate (nonco-op students). The general hypothesis was that students who gained knowledge through co-op work experience would use that knowledge in subsequent coursework and achieve a higher grade point average (GPA) than students who did not participate in the co-op program. Historical data were analyzed on students (N = 460) who graduated from the building science program at Auburn University from 1996–2000. ^ This study utilized a causal-comparative research design involving two-groups (co-op vs. nonco-op) that were self-selected. The students' grade point averages at the time they were accepted into the building science program was used as a baseline measurement to create four comparable subgroups of students: G1 (2.20 to 2.49 GPA), G2 (2.50 to 2.99 GPA), G3 (3.00 to 3.49 GPA), and G4 (3.50 to 4.00 GPA). The treatment group was the co-op students and the control group was the nonco-op students. The independent variable was STATUS (co-op vs. nonco-op) and the dependent variables of academic achievement were: cumulative GPA at time of graduation, GPA of five core building science classes, and GPA of five noncore building science classes. ^ There was a statistically significant difference between co-op students' and nonco-op students' GPA in the five core building science classes for groups G2 and G3 at the .05 level. In addition one group, G2, showed a statistically significant difference in cumulative GPA at time of graduation between co-op students and nonco-op students at the .05 level. However, none of the four groups G1 through G4 showed a statistically significant difference (p < .05) between co-op students and nonco-op students concerning the GPA scores of five noncore building science classes. ^ There is little evidence from this study to suggest that building science students who participate in a co-op program will improve their academic achievement in classes across the curriculum. However, some building science students' academic achievement may be significantly affected in classes where the course content is directly related to previous co-op work experience. ^

Degree

Ph.D.

Advisors

Major Professor: James D. Russell, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Education, Curriculum and Instruction|Architecture|Education, Vocational

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