Can we select students who will go on to be successful engineers?

Enda Crossin*, Jacqueline Dohaney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Tertiary entrance scores are widely used for admissions into engineering degrees, and these scores have been shown to correlate with academic performance. However, academic performance is not always well correlated with work performance. This suggests that the exclusive use of tertiary entrance scores for university admissions may not select students who can develop into high-performing engineers. In contrast, some psychometric measures, such as conscientiousness and general mental ability (GMA), are correlated with both tertiary and work performance, but the validity of these measures can be affected by demographic factors, including culture (e.g. nationality, race, or ethnicity), gender and age.
Purpose: This study will explore the affordances of including different selection methods into the admission process for an undergraduate engineering degree. Approach: This study reviewed literature to explore the relationships between different selection methods, academic and work performance. The applicability of some of these selection methods in admissions processes will be examined and discussed. Results: General mental ability is a key predictor of work performance, and other non-cognitive scores can improve this prediction. Grade point average (GPA) is a poor predictor of work performance. Multiple-mini interviews, currently used in medicine, have strong potential as an alternative selection method. Conclusions: Existing selection methods have the potential to be adapted and used to select a diverse engineering cohort. Alternative academic performance metrics are urgently needed to predict work performance.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2018
Event29th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference (AAEE 2018): The Future Engineer: Accounting for Diversity - Hamilton, New Zealand
Duration: 9 Dec 201812 Dec 2018

Conference

Conference29th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference (AAEE 2018): The Future Engineer: Accounting for Diversity
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
CityHamilton
Period9/12/1812/12/18

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • admission
  • psychometrics
  • academic performance
  • work performance

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