Title page for ETD etd-04252003-184329

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Lovegreen, Therese A.
URN etd-04252003-184329
Title Predicting the Academic Success of Female Engineering Students During the First Year of College Using the SAT and Non-Cognitive Variables
Degree Master of Arts
Department Higher Education and Student Affairs
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Creamer, Donald G. Committee Chair
Cross, Landrum L. Committee Member
Turrentine, Cathryn G. Committee Member
  • Women in Engineering
  • SAT
  • Non-cognitive variables
  • NCQ
  • Female Engineers
  • Academic Success
  • Gender roles
  • Predicting Academic Success
Date of Defense 2003-04-24
Availability unrestricted
Predicting the Academic Success of Female Engineering Students During the First Year

of College Using the SAT and Non-Cognitive Variables


Therese A. Lovegreen

Cathryn Turrentine, Research Director


The purpose of this study was to determine the value of the Non Cognitive Questionnaire (NCQ) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) in predicting the academic achievement of first year female engineering students. Ancis and Sedlacek (1997) studied non-cognitive variables with a general population of undergraduate women. Their study validated the NCQ as a predictor of academic success for women students. The present study extends the work of Ancis and Sedlacek to examine female engineering students, a group for which no similar study has yet been published.

Participants included 100 female first-year engineering students at a large, public Doctoral Research –Extensive institution located in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. By race or ethnicity, the participants were White, Non-Hispanic (81%), Black Non-Hispanic (9%), Asian or Pacific Islander (4%), Hispanic or Latino (1%), Non-Resident Alien (1%), and Unknown Race or Ethnicity (6%).

This study defined academic achievement as first semester Grade Point Average, which was used as the dependent variable. Participants completed the NCQ during summer orientation. NCQ scale scores and SAT Verbal and Math scores were used as independent variables in a step-wise regression analysis.

The major finding of this study was that the NCQ scale scores did not add to the predictive value of the SAT scores in determining the first semester GPA of female engineering students. This was an unexpected finding in light of previous research that had documented the value of using non-cognitive variables, and specifically the NCQ, to predict the academic success of groups that are a minority in their educational settings.

Because the major finding of this study is at odds with a large body of similar studies, the most important implications of this study relate to understanding this difference. Included in the discussion are questions about the methodology used in previous NCQ studies and about the influence of the single institution that has been the site of almost all previous NCQ research.

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