Analysis of factors that influence the academic performance of first-year Chilean engineering students

Cristian Saavedra-Acuna, Monica Quezada-Espinoza

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


This complete research paper identifies and analyzes the factors that influence academic performance and, consequently, the retention rate of first-year students in the school of engineering at a private Chilean university. Chile's retention rate has slightly increased in recent years, from 72.2% in 2016 to 75.9% in 2020. Comparisons by area of study show that the lowest rates are found in degree programs associated with Technology and Basic Sciences, with 70.7% and 76.5%, respectively. Prior research on this subject has evaluated the importance of the academic success of first-year engineering students as one of the key factors that promote student retention in this and related fields. On the other hand, factors associated with these results in the first year of engineering include socio-demographic variables, pre-university and university educational experiences, socio-cognitive characteristics of students, and family background. This research aims to analyze the factors related to students' academic performance according to the association between the independent variables of socio-demographic, family, social and economic backgrounds, and the dependent variable of academic performance in the first semester of their first year of studies. Through a quantitative non-experimental methodology, a descriptive and correlational analysis was conducted to explore the variables. This was achieved via an institutional survey undertaken by n=1,273 first-year students from 11 different degree programs who answered before starting their classes in 2022. Results highlight certain factors that affect student academic performance. The present research has improved our understanding of the new generation of young people entering the engineering field through several different variables. Therefore, higher education institutions must analyze and implement appropriate actions to enhance first-year students' academic performance and improve retention rates.

Original languageEnglish
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2023
Event2023 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - The Harbor of Engineering: Education for 130 Years, ASEE 2023 - Baltimore, United States
Duration: 25 Jun 202328 Jun 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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