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Conference Proceeding

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The first-year engineering course at Boise State University has evolved significantly over the past decade as a result of continuous improvement with a particular focus on student retention. The course was originally created in 1999-2001 as an “Introduction to Engineering” course in order to recruit students to one of the fields of engineering, by introducing those fields of engineering as topics across the semester. Over the first ten years, the course continued that introductory-to-field focus while also introducing a significant design element solving openended engineering problems. As a result of a five-year grant aimed toward improving first-year retention, the first-year course was substantially revised in 2013 to focus on developing mathematics skills, based on the work of Klingbeil and colleagues1–3. This paper describes these most recent modifications to the course and presents results from students who took the modified course as they moved forward in their academic careers and took second year mathematics and science courses. We collected data both in the form of grades and measurements of students’ self-efficacy to explore how increasing mathematical content in the first-year engineering class can improve students’ performance in both co-enrolled and subsequently enrolled mathematics and science courses.

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© (2015), American Society for Engineering Education, Proceedings of ASEE Annual Conference (Seattle, WA).