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Engineering Graduate Students’ Salient Identities as Predictors of Perceived Task Difficulty

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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

ERM Technical Session 21: Student Grades and Feedback

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

15

DOI

10.18260/1-2--32725

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32725

Download Count

122

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Paper Authors

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Derrick James Satterfield University of Nevada, Reno

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Derrick Satterfield is a Ph.D. student in Engineering Education and Chemical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in May 2017, and plans to pursue a career in academia in the future. His research interests are in graduate student
attrition rates within academia, engineering identity development and the factors that influence decision making on persistence.

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Marissa A. Tsugawa University of Nevada, Reno Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-6009-8810

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Marissa Tsugawa is a graduate research assistant studying at the University of Nevada, Reno in the PRiDE Research Group. She is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Engineering Education. She expects to graduate May of 2019. Her research interests include student development of identity and motivation in graduate engineering environments and understanding creativity in engineering design processes.

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Heather Perkins North Carolina State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-8757-0545

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Heather entered the Applied Social and Community Psychology program in the fall of 2014, after completing her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati. She has participated in various research projects examining the interaction between stereotypes and science interest and confidence, their influence upon womens’ performance in school and the workplace, and their presence in the media and consequences for viewers. Her primary research interest is science identity, STEM education, and participation in online communities.

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Matthew Bahnson North Carolina State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-0134-0125

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Matthew Bahnson is a doctoral student at North Carolina State University in Applied Social and Community Psychology. His research interests include engineering identity, diversity, bias, stereotypes, and STEM education. He works with Dr. Cheryl Cass at NCSU.

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Cheryl Cass SAS Institute

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Cheryl Cass is a Senior Global Academic Program Manager in the Education Division at SAS Institute. She also holds a position as Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University where she spent more than seven years as a teaching professor and Director of Undergraduate Programs.

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Adam Kirn University of Nevada, Reno Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-6344-5072

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Adam Kirn is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at University of Nevada, Reno. His research focuses on the interactions between engineering cultures, student motivation, and their learning experiences. His projects involve the study of student perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards becoming engineers, their problem solving processes, and cultural fit. His education includes a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a M.S. in Bioengineering and Ph.D. in Engineering and Science Education from Clemson University.

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Abstract

This research paper examines the relationship between engineering graduate students’ salient identities and their perception of research task difficulty. Data analyzed in this paper is from a larger project examining graduate student experiences in the United States. We contacted 693 institutions, to measure engineering graduate students’ salient identities while doing research tasks and their perception of difficulty of tasks such as reading journal articles, conducting research, and attending conferences via electronic survey. A linear regression was used to examine the relationship between task difficulty and salience of researcher, scientist, and engineering identities for 1,482 students. We also tested if this relationship was moderated by demographics such as gender identity and degree type. The linear regression model indicated that researcher identity salience was a significant predictor (β = 0.245; t(1,479) = 9.693; p < 0.05) of engineering graduate students’ perceived task difficulty. Specifically, perceived difficulty decreased with the higher salience of one’s researcher identity. These findings are supported in identity-based motivation literature which posits that as students leverage an applicable identity (i.e., researcher, scientist or engineer) when completing a task, their perception of task difficulty decreases.

Satterfield, D. J., & Tsugawa, M. A., & Perkins, H., & Bahnson, M., & Cass, C., & Kirn, A. (2019, June), Engineering Graduate Students’ Salient Identities as Predictors of Perceived Task Difficulty Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32725

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