Date of Award

12-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Industrial Engineering

Advisor

Gramopadhye, Anand

Committee Member

Garrett , Sandra

Committee Member

Greenstein , Joel

Abstract

In the engineering profession, one of the most critical skills to possess is accurate and efficient problem solving. Thus, engineering educators should strive to help students develop skills needed to become competent problem solvers. In order to measure the development of skills, it is necessary to assess student performance, identify any deficiencies present in problem solving attempts, and identify trends in performance over time. Through iterative assessment using standard assessment metrics, researchers/instructors are able to track trends in problem solving performance across time, which can serve as a gauge of students' learning gains.
This research endeavor studies the problem solving process of first year engineering students in order to assess how person and process factors influence problem-solving success. This research makes a contribution to the literature in engineering education by 1) providing a coding scheme that can be used to analyze problem solving attempts in terms of the process rather than just outcomes, 2) providing an assessment tool which can be used to measure performance along the seven stage problem solving cycle, and 3) describing the effects of person and process factors on problem solving performance.

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