University of Jaén (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN23 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 2021-2029
ISBN: 978-84-09-52151-7
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2023.0614
Conference name: 15th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2023
Location: Palma, Spain
The decision to pursue a university degree is a critical moment in a person's life, but despite the abundance of information available through the internet or academic guidance, the rate of students dropping out of university remains unacceptably high. This problem is particularly acute in engineering programs, which have an alarmingly high dropout rate. While previous studies have identified personal reasons and inadequate academic and social integration of students as the main causes of early dropout, a comprehensive understanding of the reasons behind the phenomenon remains elusive.

In this context, we propose a survey-based approach to identify factors that lead to early dropout and predict students at risk of abandoning their engineering career in their first year. The approach involves designing a series of surveys that capture the student's level of commitment and motivation, the student's sense of belonging to the degree program, the level of support from university staff, and the degree of stress motivated by academic workload, among other factors. We have designed four surveys to be administered to telecommunications engineering students at the University of Jaén, each addressing different stages of the students' experience in their first years of university.

The surveys are designed to capture a wide range of variables that may influence the students' decision to continue or abandon their engineering career. In addition to the primary factors mentioned above, we also consider other secondary variables that may play a role in the decision to drop out, such as the students' gender, background, level of previous education, and parents' education.

The survey-based approach we propose can be a useful tool to identify students who are at risk of dropping out and can serve as a basis for designing interventions that improve retention rates. With the survey results, university administrators and faculty members can take measures that allow them to address the specific problems that students face in their early years of study, providing them with the support they need to successfully complete their degree and minimizing the cost of early dropout.
University dropout, engineering degrees, student surveys, retention rates.