Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Civil and Mechanical Engineering

Publication Date


Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference

Document Type



Spaced practice and interleaving concepts within a course improve student retention of those concepts. A metacognitive reason for the effectiveness of these techniques is the role they play in connecting concepts within a student’s knowledge structure. A previous paper by one of the authors summarized a recent experiment in which civil engineering students at the US Military Academy at West Point were required to solve review problems on each homework assignment in two civil engineering design courses. At that time, assessment data included three semesters of academic performance, time spent outside of class, student feedback, and teacher observations. In this paper, there are now six semesters of data from which to identify trends and two additional sources of assessment data are included: results from the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam and results from annual mechanics diagnostic exams administered in the first semester of the junior and senior year. Findings suggest that review problems improve performance in the course in which the review problems are assigned but the influence on longer term retention as measured by the annual mechanics exams and the FEE are inconclusive. Despite this, faculty and students find value in including review problems in structural design courses.