This project seeks to investigate a framework that reassesses admissions criteria to deemphasize standardized tests by considering a holistic perspective of a student's academic experience. Research shows that putting too much weight on standardized tests results in a misrepresentation of a student's actual potential for academic success. Students, particularly students of color and women, are often negatively impacted by stereotype threat which has been shown to result in lower test scores. Therefore, test scores do not accurately reflect a student's ability.
To broaden participation in engineering, the College of Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is broadening the admission review process to deemphasize standardized test scores and include a wider array of academic and social indicators. The changing demographics of Nebraska's high school graduates, and in particular the growth of the Hispanic/Latino/a population, make University of Nebraska-Lincoln an ideal place to study the impact of these changes on retention and graduation and the efficacy of subsequent student support programs for these students.
Alternately admitted students will be asked to complete a short survey about their academic experiences and use of support services to evaluate how these programs are used and what gaps there may be to support the success of all students at the UNL College of Engineering (COE). MERC will lead 1:1, individual, exploratory qualitative interviews/ethnographies. We will ask students about their past educational experiences, their preparation for college, and ways in which they find support for academic success at UNL COE.