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Board 120: Development of an Engineering Identity and Career Aspirations Survey for Use with Elementary Students

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Page Count

11

DOI

10.18260/1-2--32210

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32210

Download Count

191

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Paper Authors

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Kelli Paul Indiana University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-2322-7542

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Dr. Kelli Paul is a postdoctoral researcher in science education at Indiana University. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology specializing in Inquiry Methodology from Indiana University in 2006. She managed a consulting business for 10 years working on evaluations that focused primarily in the areas of education and STEM for middle and high school students, especially women and minority students. Her research interests include student engagement and interest in STEM and STEM careers as well as the development of instruments and evaluation tools to assess these constructs.

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Adam V. Maltese Indiana University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-8422-9395

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Associate Professor of Science Education

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Karen Miel Tufts University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-8460-4332

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Karen Miel is a PhD student in STEM Education at Tufts University. Karen served as the Director of Research and Innovation at the science center CuriOdyssey and the Education Director of the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo after teaching elementary and middle school. Her research focuses on elementary students’ reasoning and decision-making in collaborative engineering design.

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Merredith D. Portsmore Tufts University

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Dr. Merredith Portsmore is the Director for Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (www.ceeo.tufts.edu). Merredith received all four of her degrees from Tufts (B.A. English, B.S. Mechanical Engineering, M.A. Education, PhD in Engineering Education). Her research interests focus on how children engage in designing and constructing solutions to engineering design problems and evaluating students’ design artifacts. Her outreach work focuses on creating resources for K-12 educators to support engineering education in the classroom. She is also the founder of STOMP (stompnetwork.org), LEGOengineering.com (legoengineering.com) and the Teacher Engineering Education Program (teep.tufts.edu).

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Euisuk Sung Indiana University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7162-875X

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Euisuk Sung is a postdoctoral researcher at Indiana University. He earned a Ph.D. degree in Engineering and Technology Teacher Education at Purdue University. He has computer science degree and worked as a computer software developer for three years. then he served as an engineering and technology educator in high school for 9 years in South Korea. Currently he is working in NSF Funded project, titled TRAILS. His research interests are design cognition, maker education, computer science education, and all about STEM education.

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Abstract

Interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) begins as early as elementary and middle school. As youth enter adolescence, they begin to shape their personal identities and start making decisions about who they are and could be in the future. Students form their career aspirations and interests related to STEM in elementary school, long before they choose STEM coursework in high school or college. Much of the literature examines either science or STEM identity and career aspirations without separating out individual sub-disciplines. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to describe the development of a survey instrument to specifically measure engineering identity and career aspirations in adolescents and preadolescents. When possible, we utilized existing measures of STEM identity and career aspirations, adapting them when necessary to the elementary school level and to fit the engineering context. The instrument was developed within the context of a multi-year, NSF-funded research project examining the dynamics between undergraduate outreach providers and elementary students to understand the impact of the program on students’ engineering identity and career aspirations. Three phases of survey development were conducted that involved 492 elementary students from diverse communities in the United States. Three sets of items were developed and/or adapted throughout the four phases. The first set of items assessed Engineering Identity. Recent research suggests that identity consists of three components: recognition, interest, and performance/competence. Items assessing each of these constructs were included in the survey. The second and third sets of items reflected Career Interests and Aspirations. Because elementary and middle school students often have a limited or nascent awareness of what engineers do or misconceptions about what a job in science or engineering entails, it is problematic to measure their engineering identity or career aspirations by directly asking them whether they want to be a scientist/engineer or by using a checklist of broad career categories. Therefore, similar to other researchers, the second set of items assessed the types of activities that students are interested in doing as part of a future career, including both non-STEM and STEM (general and engineering-specific) activities. These items were created by the research team or adapted from activity lists used in existing research. The third set of items drew from career counseling measures relying on Holland’s Career Codes. We adapted the format of these instruments by asking students to choose the activity they liked the most from a list of six activities that reflected each of the codes rather than responding to their interest about each activity. Preliminary findings for each set of items will be discussed. Results from the survey contribute to our understanding of engineering identities and career aspirations in preadolescent and adolescent youth. However, our instrument has the potential for broader application in non-engineering STEM environments (e.g., computer science) with minor wording changes to reflect the relevant science subject area. More research is needed in determining its usefulness in this capacity.

Paul, K., & Maltese, A. V., & Miel, K., & Portsmore, M. D., & Sung, E. (2019, June), Board 120: Development of an Engineering Identity and Career Aspirations Survey for Use with Elementary Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32210

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015