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First-year engineering students requiring supplemental math instruction in one of New Mexico State University's ABET certified Engineering departments are placed in cohorts where they take all their classes together, including English 111, the first-year writing class required of all students at the University. While the cohorts have proven successful in retaining engineering students in the discipline while students obtain necessary math skills to continue their engineering education, little is known about how successful the cohort program has been in helping new engineers with the "soft-skills" required of engineers in the profession today. This study provides a preliminary investigation into student cohorts by investigating student apprehension using the Daly-Miller test of writing apprehension. The survey was administered to both cohort and non-cohort students at New Mexico State University, and this study compares results of the writing apprehension test between first-year cohort students and first-year non-cohort engineering students at New Mexico State University. Preliminary results indicate that there is no statistically significant aggregate difference between cohort and non-cohort students; however, there are statistically significant differences to specific question responses.
Date of Conference: 18-21 Oct. 2009