June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
24.179.1 - 24.179.42
Analysis of a Short-Term STEM Intervention Targeting Middle School Girls and Their Parents (Research to Practice)On February 7, 2012, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)issued a report to President Obama projecting a U.S. shortfall of roughly one million scientistsand engineers over the next decade. Given the dramatic impact this shortage will have onAmerica’s intellectual, sociocultural, military, and technological progress, the need to motivateyoung people to lives of scientific inquiry is particularly timely. One way to ameliorate thisproblem is by increasing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) participationamong girls and minorities. The goal of this paper is to explore the attitudinal changes createdvia a half-day science/engineering intervention targeted specifically at middle school girls andtheir parents living in a large city in the American Southwest. The intervention is held on acollege campus with the volunteer force of female science and engineering students and local,female STEM professionals providing activities, demonstrations, tours and speakers. Throughthe use of anonymous, IRB-approved pre- and post-surveys, both quantitative and qualitativemethods are employed to gauge the effectiveness of belief changes along a variety ofdimensions: knowledge of how one becomes an engineer, engineers as role models, the role ofwomen in science and engineering, and overall excitement about the field of engineering. Inaddition to studying student and parent groups separately – to learn the types of attitudinalfeatures susceptible to change within each group, and hence to inform intervention-design effortsmore globally – this study also works to uncover relationships between the two groups, thusgiving a clearer picture of the nature of change within family units. In quantitative analyses,both parametric and non-parametric statistical methods are employed, as responses from Likert-style response items are viewed both as ordinal and ratio data. Qualitative methods are used onfree-response questions and draw upon methods from Grounded Theory (as outlined in the workof Corbin and Strauss). In their totality, these analytic tools provide evidence for theeffectiveness of the studied intervention, and concomitantly, suggest a step toward easingAmerica’s looming scientific crisis.
Deckard, C., & Quarfoot, D., & Csanadi, K. C. (2014, June), Analysis of a Short-Term STEM Intervention Targeting Middle School Girls and Their Parents (Research to Practice) Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20070
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