The Chronicle of Higher Education reports this week on a study commissioned by ABET, the body that accredits engineering programs. The study allegedly shows that "students who graduated from college engineering programs in 2004 were better qualified to enter the profession than were students who graduated in 1994."
ABET reports that students benefit today from "more exposure to active and collaborative teaching practices, more feedback from instructors, and more interactions with faculty members both inside and outside class."
As a result, engineering grads are more than brains with pocket-protectors.
"The areas of greatest improvement," said J. Fredericks Volkwein, a professor of higher education at Penn State and a co-principal investigator, "are in teamwork and communication skills and the ability to learn, grow, and adapt.
At the same time, ABET was "relieved" to report that technical skills had not declined; in fact they appear to have improved. "2004 graduates had higher test scores in mathematics and science than did the 1994 graduates."