Academic Outcomes of Cooperative Education ParticipationOutcomes and benefits of cooperative education (co-op) participation have been welldocumented; however, they have focused primarily on grade point averages (GPA) and careeroutcomes. Previous work on predictors of participation shows no significant differences bygender in the aggregate, but there are significant differences by ethnicity and major. Women inMechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering (especially Hispanic women) persist athigher rates than men, possibly indicating that gender becomes significant in academicoutcomes. One reason students may not participate in co-op is the perception of increased time tograduation; however, other benefits may outweigh that. This research furthers the literature byexamining academic outcomes not previously considered, such as persistence in engineering andtime to graduation. The work is situated at the intersection of ethnicity/race and gender, aimingto answer the following questions: 1) what are the academic outcomes of co-op participation and2) focusing on diversity, which underrepresented groups and disciplines experience or benefit themost from co-op participation?This study uses a longitudinal database of engineering students across six institutions, includingco-op participants and non-participants. The sample includes undergraduate students fromAerospace, Chemical, Computer, Civil, Electrical, Industrial & Systems, and MechanicalEngineering majors. Propensity score analysis is a preferred method to reduce potential selectionbias in the data; therefore, it is applied in this study. Outcome variables include whether or not astudent graduated from a particular institution, persistence in engineering, and time tograduation. Results are expected to show that co-op students are more likely to graduate inengineering with higher GPAs than their non-participant counterparts, although they will takelonger to graduate. The implications of this study can be used by administrators and educators tounderstand differences in how co-op affects a diverse population of students, especially thosefrom underrepresented groups. The research will also inform co-op program policy making.
Outcomes, engineering education, cooperative education
Date of this Version
Ramirez, N., & Main, J. B., & Ohland, M. W. (2015, June), Academic Outcomes of Cooperative Education Participation Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23479