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Evaluating the "Impacts" Section of the Engineering Self-Efficacy, Interest, and Perception Survey

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Research on Learning, Performance, and Impact

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.550.1 - 23.550.8



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Paper Authors

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Cameron Denson North Carolina State University

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Chandra Y Austin Ph.D Auburn University


Christine E. Hailey Utah State University

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Dr. Christine Hailey is a Senior Associate Dean in the College of Engineering and a Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Her teaching responsibilities include Thermodynamics I and the Women in Engineering Seminar. She is the Principal Investigator of an NSF-funded project entitled “The Influence of MESA Activities on Underrepresented Students.” The Math, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) outreach program was selected as the subject of this study because of its 40 years of experience in introducing engineering to students traditionally underrepresented in the discipline. The research study proposes to examine the influence of MESA activities on students’ engineering self-efficacy, interest in engineering and perceptions of engineering. Hailey is a recipient of the College of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award, the Utah Engineers Council Engineering Educator of the Year award and the Society of Women Engineers Distinguished Engineering Educator Award. Christine Hailey is the Faculty Advisor of the Utah State University SWE Section. She is also a licensed professional engineer. Prior to coming to Utah State University, she was a manager and member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories. She has also served as department chair of the Mechanical Engineering program at the University of Texas at Tyler.

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Evaluating the “Impact” Section of the Engineering Self-Efficacy, Interest and Perceptions SurveyThe challenge of meeting the nation’s demands for more engineers is exacerbatedby the inability of formal learning environments to excite many underrepresentedstudents about the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)professions. In response, co-curricular programs such as the Math, Engineering,Science Achievement (MESA) program have shown some success in providingpathways to STEM careers. MESA has created a model that is currently being used innine states employing a range of activities to introduce underrepresented studentsto STEM careers including: college and career advisement, hands-on activities, statecompetitions, field trips, and guest lecturers. To report on the influence of theseactivities on underrepresented students the Engineering Self-Efficacy, Interests, andPerceptions Survey (ESIPS) instrument was developed by our research team. After apreliminary study the team determined that the instrument required more detail tounderstand the influences of the various activities and consequently an “impact”section was developed using qualitative data that emerged as a result of focus groupinterviews conducted with MESA students.In this paper we focus on the newest development of the ESIPS instrument, the“impact” section as it provides insight into the specific experiences which studentsfelt make MESA a successful program. Students were asked to indicate their degreeof agreement on a scale from 1 (low) to 10 (high) with 39 impact statements.Examples of statements in the impact section include: “My experience in MESAallows me to discuss future plans with my advisor,” and “My experience in MESAallows me to study with friends.” Students from three of the nine MESA statesparticipated in the pilot study which included the addition of the impact section toESIPS. About ten percent of the student who started the survey did not complete theimpact section; 189 students completed all sections of the ESIPS instrument. Fifty-eight percent of the students were female and forty-two percent were male. Forty-six percent identified themselves as Hispanic / Latina / Latino, twenty percentidentified themselves as white, and fourteen percent identified themselves as blackor African American.Due to participant fatigue that was apparent for students who piloted the survey,the impact section was deemed excessive in length. After data was collected a factoranalysis was performed on the items in an effort to reduce the number of items andproduce a more concise survey yet keep the strength of each subscale. Duplicatequestions were eliminated from the section as well as questions with unclearoptions. Correlation analysis was also helpful in reducing the survey length andimproving clarity. Using the techniques described above, the impact section wasreduced from 39 items to 22 items while attaining a Cronbach’s alpha of .977.The improved ESIPS survey will be administered to 1500 students throughout fourstates in the spring of 2013. The results of this study will help describe theinfluence that MESA activities have on underrepresented students and can beextended to other co-curricular STEM programs.

Denson, C., & Austin, C. Y., & Hailey, C. E. (2013, June), Evaluating the "Impacts" Section of the Engineering Self-Efficacy, Interest, and Perception Survey Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19564

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