Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Frank Ciarallo (Committee Co-chair), Subhashini Ganapathy (Committee Member), Nathan Klingbeil (Committee Co-chair), Anant Kukreti (Committee Member), Yan Liu (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The latest push to encourage workforce growth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines has generated varying results. Overall, demand for STEM graduates is outpacing the numbers available. This has motivated a wide range of proposed solutions to increase the number of people trained to work in these fields. While a focus on college recruitment in these areas is a necessity for increasing numbers of STEM graduates, the expanding variety of students admitted to university programs in STEM disciplines creates a new series of issues in higher education. Most prominently, retention and graduation rates are low in STEM disciplines.

This study expands the understanding of the factors related to college retention, specifically in the field of engineering, by creating the Academic Performance-Commitment Matrix (APCM). The APCM simultaneously considers indicators related to cognitive ability, psychosocial factors and efficacy thereby providing a more complete profile of students. This profile, based on widely accepted measures of academic performance, supports a more informed approach to formulating curricula and coursework with an objective of increased retention. The APCM was developed utilizing a carefully developed assessment tool to determine the psychosocial underpinnings of measures of objective academic performance (MOAPs). In this study the MOAPs used were ACT math score and GPA, both well regarded as predictors of success, however the APCM is novel in its consideration of their simultaneous impact.

By using the new APCM framework to study the success of a first-year math intervention course at Wright State University (EGR101), the impacts of the course on mathematics efficacy are readily apparent. Without the descriptive structure of the APCM, the drivers of the increases in efficacy and graduation rates are much more difficult to discern. The value of the APCM derives substantially from creating a multidimensional view of students. This study found that the outcomes of the intervention were much greater for certain student groups within the APCM framework.

The broader potential impact of EGR101 on meeting demand becomes clearer with the National Model of Engineering Education (NMEE). The NMEE incorporates the expanded understanding of the impact of EGR 101 on engineering students through the APCM in a model of engineering programs across the country. The NMEE utilizes the structure of schools by selectivity tier and provides a reasoned estimation of production of engineers through varying constraints. This is used to consider scenarios of how demand for engineers may be met through domestic production.

Page Count


Department or Program

Ph.D. in Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Included in

Engineering Commons