Comparison of traditional and integrated first year curricula - Graduation success and MBTI distribution

J. Roger Parsons, Rachel McCord, J. Elaine Seat, Thomas Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


As engineering educators have struggled with how to increase retention, interest nontraditional students into the profession, and incorporate an expanding knowledge base into the curriculum, the systematic study of how students learn technical material has become increasingly important. It has become accepted that students have different learning styles and that alternate teaching styles and methods can assist the learning process. Many of the innovations in approach to engineering education and the decrease in emphasis on lecturing as the primary method of material delivery have resulted from knowledge and appreciation of student learning style. Of the many diagnostic tools available to measure learning style, The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator1 (MBTI) is probably the most commonly used. In 2002, the authors published a MBTI distribution study for University of Tennessee engineering graduates 2. These students were educated in a traditional curriculum. This study provided us with insights about which personality types were ultimately successful in traditional engineering programs. There is now a sufficient number of our graduates that have been exposed to the significantly reformed Engage integrated first year curriculum3, fully implemented in 1999, that a meaningful comparison study can be performed. In this study, a comparison of graduation success and MBTI distribution is made between the approximately 1500 students who began engineering study just before the implementation of our new first year curriculum, and the first 1500 students who entered the new curriculum. The most significant effect of this curriculum change was a 6% increase in graduation rate for entering students. The on-time completion of first year requirements for engineering students increased 15% when this curriculum was introduced, this early advantage tapering down to 6% as students progressed through the remainder of the curriculum. Graduation rates increased more significantly for female students, and for most MBTI designations, by 4-letter type, 2-letter temperament, or single letter preference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event2008 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Pittsburg, PA, United States
Duration: Jun 22 2008Jun 24 2008


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