June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
15.142.1 - 15.142.11
An Assessment of Long-term Impacts of Three On-Campus K-12 Enrichment Programs Abstract: Research suggests that exposure to STEM activities during the K-12 years stimulates interest in STEM careers and pursuing post-secondary education. This study examines three K- 12 engineering enrichment programs and their influence on college enrollment and graduation rates for past participants of the programs. The programs, conducted by a large public university in the mid-Atlantic, target women and underrepresented minorities and draw most of the program participants from the surrounding economically disadvantaged counties. The first program is week-long summer day camp targeting middle school students. The second is a year- long program hosting two events each semester targeting minority sophomores and seniors. The third is a 2-week overnight summer camp for junior and senior women. To assess the long-term impact of these programs on interest in engineering, we performed telephone surveys of former participants. For each group of participants, a ten-year period was selected which corresponded to current college-age students. During the holidays, undergraduate assistants called home telephone numbers and asked former participants or their parents about enrollment in college, in engineering, and impact of the program. Overall, 582 former participants were identified, and we collected responses from 93 of them. We found that this method works relatively well for high school programs, but the middle-school program had a low response rate due to family relocations and low recollection of the program itself.
Although there has been significant increase of women earning engineering baccalaureate degrees, growing from 0.4 percent in 1966 to slightly over 20 percent in 2004, the numbers have plateaued since then 1. Underrepresented minority (URM) groups earning baccalaureate degrees have increased from 11.5 percent in 1990 to 20.9 percent in 2004 1. Anthropological studies indicate that access to capital-rich settings, particularly enhancement programs, contribute to better academic performance for students. Students who participate in such programs remain in school longer and enter college in greater numbers 2. Based on the findings of this and similar research, several K-12 engineering enrichment programs were developed by the College of Engineering at a large state university in the Southeast with objective of influencing pre-college students to attend college, specifically the host institution, and to major in engineering. This paper describes the programs and the assessment procedures for evaluating the impact of these programs.
The primary objective of these K-12 programs is to increase the students’ interest in the field of engineering to the extent that they will be more interested in pursuing a degree in the subject. However, it is difficult to assess whether the programs do have that impact on the future intentions of the students. The purpose of this study is to evaluate how well these programs have met their objective, and to demonstrate our method for others running and evaluating similar programs. The following questions were addressed:
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