Is student performance declining? A look at twenty-five years of data

Kathy Schmidt, Mark Maughmer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Much of the emphasis on today's teaching is on the process (how one acquires information) rather than on the product (the information acquired). Yet for those of us who have been in the classroom for years we know the product is also valued. In looking back over one engineering professor's twenty-five years of teaching and testing, we observed a decline in the amount of material covered and in the level of performance in students' grades. Recent research on undergraduates found that only about a third of fulltime students are spending 40 hours a week attending class and studying, and this 7% decline from the previous decade could be a factor in declining performance. Additionally research indicates that today's students are spending less time trying to make connections between the facts and ideas to practical applications. In this paper, we look at grading trends and amount of content covered in two aerospace engineering courses in an attempt to quantify changes and to begin a conversation on how to address the need to engage students in the diligence of learning so that they can leave our classrooms schooled with enough depth of knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2009
Event2009 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Austin, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 14 2009Jun 17 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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