Attrition and Retention in Engineering

Analyzing Enrollment, Transfer, Drop-out and Stop-out activity

University of Saskatchewan

Jim Greer, Sean Maw, Liz Kuley, Craig Thompson, Stephanie Frost, Ryan Banow


In an effort to improve retention in Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, a study was undertaken to identify factors, evaluate recent efforts to reduce attrition, and implement new initiatives to attract and retain students from targeted populations.


Figure 1. Six year graduation and attrition for engineering students.

Tool: Ribbon

Efforts to bring student data at the University of Saskatchewan into a University Data Warehouse have been successful and it is now relatively easy to build up a specific dataset for visualization in the Ribbon Tool. Engineering enrolment data for different demographic groups since 2008 have been collected and structured. Admission policies, enrolment quotas, freshman promotion standards, and probationary actions have been tweaked in recent years and the effects of these changes on attrition and retention have not yet been fully analyzed.

The Ribbon Tool helps track the changes in student flows into, through, and out of Engineering for various demographic subgroups.

Evidence-based Action

For more details about what evidence was collected, and actions taken, join the Tools for Evidence-based Action group on Trellis.