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Comparisons of a Female-Only, Male-Only, and Mixed-Gender Engineering Enrichment Program for 4th Graders

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Diversity Issues in K-12 and Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


Linda S. Hirsch New Jersey Institute of Technology

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LINDA S. HIRSCH is the Assistant Director for Research, Evaluation and Program Operations for the Center for Pre-College programs at New Jersey Institute of Technology. Dr. Hirsch has a degree in educational psychology with a specialty in Educational Statistics and Measurement from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University. She has been involved in all aspects of educational and psychological research for over 20 years. Dr. Hirsch has extensive experience conducting longitudinal research studies and is proficient in database management, experimental design, instrument development, psychometrics and statistical programming.

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Suzanne Lori Berliner Heyman New Jersey Institute of Technology

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Suzanne Berliner Heyman is the Director For Program Operations and Outreach of the Center for Pre-College Programs at NJIT. Ms. Berliner-Heyman has served as program director for the early college preparatory programs for over 15 years. Suzanne earned her master’s degree from New York University in educational technology and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Rhode Island. She holds an elementary education teaching certificate and a Teaching of the Handicapped certificate in the state of New Jersey.

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Rosa M. Cano New Jersey Institute of Technology

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The benefits and relative effectiveness of single-gender education are still unclear and more research is necessary before strong conclusions can be formed. Results of previous evaluations comparing aspects of female-only summer enrichment programs to equivalent mixed-gender programs has shown female-only programs to be particularly effective in educating young girls about engineering and positively influencing their perceptions of engineers and attitudes toward engineering as a career. Subsequent evaluations comparing single-gender vs mixed-gender programs including male-only programs had mixed results. The current study is a more rigorous examination of gains in content knowledge and takes a closer look at the issues of self-efficacy, gender equity and qualitative perceptions of engineers using the Middle School Attitudes toward Engineering and Knowledge of Engineering Careers Survey and the Draw an Engineering Test in equivalent post 4th grade female-only, male-only and mixed-gender programs. Previous evaluations included higher-grade programs with some returning students that had already participated in other program(s) so they had some prior knowledge of engineering and had possibly participated in a program of a different gender composition. In addition to comparisons among gains in content knowledge, comparisons between characteristics of students drawing from the Draw an Engineer Test and responses to the Attitudes toward Engineering and Knowledge of Engineering Careers Survey found significant differences among the three gender group programs in terms of self-efficacy and gender attribution of engineers.

Hirsch, L. S., & Berliner Heyman, S. L., & Cano, R. M. (2016, June), Comparisons of a Female-Only, Male-Only, and Mixed-Gender Engineering Enrichment Program for 4th Graders Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26542

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