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Carmen Pérez-Fragoso

The reported study focuses on the academic practices of freshman and senior engineering students while gaining the required experience to become engineers. The theoretical framework derives from a sociocultural perspective, where the appropriation of disciplinary tools and artifacts, and the ways in which students participate in the disciplines, are crucial. The participants were 47 engineering students from a Mexican state university, who participated in six focus groups. The data obtained was analyzed using techniques of content analysis. In general, the students’ comments show different levels of appropriation of the disciplinary tools, and different ways of perceiving their professional training in terms of the challenges that it presents for them, and they mentioned which aspects of these differences they considered to be significant. Dissimilarities between the majors, in particular those regarding the professional internships, are also discussed. To conclude, the paper provides suggestions for improving engineer training right from the beginning of their university studies, and has implications for other state universities working with similar programs.