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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  2. Many engineering problems assigned in undergraduate classes are numerical and can be solved using equations and algorithms—for example, truss problems in statics are often solved using the method of joints or the method of sections. Concept questions, which can be administered in class using active learning pedagogies, aid in the development of conceptual understanding as opposed to the procedural skill often emphasized in numerical problems. We administered a concept question about a truss to 241 statics students at six diverse institutions and find no statistically significant differences in answer correctness or confidence between institutions. Across institutions, students report that they are not accustomed to such non-numerical concept questions, but they grapple in different ways with the experience. Some frame engineering as inherently numerical, and thus do not value the conceptual understanding assessed by the question, while others recognize that developing conceptual knowledge is useful and will translate to their future engineering work. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024