June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Educational Research and Methods
26.506.1 - 26.506.17
TitleDevelopment of the Co-curricular Activities Survey of Engineering Students (CASES) to Measure Involvement, Decisions, Outcomes, Commitment, and Identification of Undergraduate Engineering Students AbstractBackgroundUndergraduate engineering students engage in many curricular-related (associated with a class),co-curricular (associated with school, but not with a class) and extra-curricular (not associatedwith school) activities because students deem them to be educationally purposeful. Participationin these activities is found to have positive outcomes, such as better academic performance andpersistence, and also negative outcomes, such as having less time for schoolwork. In addition,there exist barriers to participating in such activities. Currently, no valid and reliable questionnaireexists to measure these positive and negative outcomes comprehensively.PurposeThis paper describes the development of a questionnaire to accurately measure 1)undergraduate engineering students’ decisions to participate in educationally purposeful activitiesand 2) the students’ outcomes from involvement in these activities. A second goal is to develop atheoretical model to better understand students’ decision making process in committing tomajoring in engineering and pursuing engineering careers. We also measure students’ decisionsnot to participate in such activities and explore the barriers that prevent them from participating inthese activities. Data collected using this questionnaire will help determine outcomes from allactivities students identify as educationally purposeful.MethodsTo develop a robust questionnaire, an expert panel composed of a statistician with seven years ofexperience developing surveys, a higher education scholar with significant research inorganizational, curricular, instructional, and co-curricular practices in engineering schools, and adirector of assessment in a college of engineering participated in the questionnaire developmentprocess. A Domain Identification model, a theoretical framework, informed the constructsmeasured and allowed testing of causality hypothesized among them. Factors for thequestionnaire were identified via a meta-synthesis and meta-analysis of the current literature onundergraduate engineering students’ participation in curricular-related, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and the outcomes from their involvement in these activities. These factorswere augmented with additional factors identified through focus groups with undergraduateengineering students at three institutions using a Q Sort methodology. The focus groups includedunderrepresented populations in engineering to ensure their input into the factors under study.Data gained from the focus group meetings and examination of existing questionnaires thatmeasure factors related to participation decisions and involvement supported creation of newand/or refined items for the final questionnaire. Finally, a think aloud protocol incorporatedparticipants comments and feedback to refine the items to ensure that their perception,interpretation, and responses to the items matched the developers’ intent.ResultsThe resulting questionnaire collects data on 20 activities and measures involvement (20 items),reasons for participation (12 items), positive and (11 items) negative outcomes accruing fromparticipation (10 items), barriers to participation (13), career commitment (6 items), engineeringidentification (4 items), and proactive personality (10 items).ConclusionBy determining activities and involvement that significantly predict learning outcomes,persistence, and career commitment, the questionnaire can help higher educational institutionadministrators, faculty, and staff gain better insight into students’ decision making process. Thisnew insight can inform strategies that help improve retention of engineering students. This papermakes a methodological contribution by developing a quantitative assessment of outcomes fromactivities students identify as educationally purposeful.
Simmons, D. R., & Tendhar, C., & Yu, R., & Vance, E. A., & Amelink, C. T. (2015, June), Developing the Postsecondary Student Engagement Survey (PosSES) to Measure Undergraduate Engineering Students’ Out-of-Class Involvement Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23845
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