Asee peer logo

Factors Influencing the Interest Level of Secondary Students going into STEM fields and their parents’ perceived interest in STEM (Evaluation)

Download Paper |

Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

PCEE Evaluation Studies

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30507

Download Count

28

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Murad Musa Mahmoud Utah State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7810-6046

visit author page

Murad is a PhD student in the Engineering Education department at Utah State University. My major advisor is Prof. Kurt Becker. I have a bachelor's and master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Jordan. I have about five years of experience in teaching, most of which is with computer-aided drafting (CAD). My research interests include; STEM recruitment, professional development and CAD.

visit author page

biography

Kurt Henry Becker Utah State University - Engineering Education

visit author page

Kurt Becker is the current director for the Center for Engineering Education Research (CEER) which examines innovative and effective engineering education practices as well as classroom technologies that advance learning and teaching in engineering. He is also working on National Science Foundation (NSF) funded projects exploring engineering design thinking. His areas of research include engineering design thinking, adult learning cognition, engineering education professional development and technical training. He has extensive international experience working on technical training and engineering educaton projects funded by the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and U.S. Department of Labor, USAID. Countries where he has worked include Armenia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, and Thailand. In addition, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses for the Department of Engineering Education at Utah State University.

visit author page

biography

Max L Longhurst Utah State University

visit author page

Dr. Longhurst is an Assistant Professor of Science Education in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership at Utah State University. His research focuses on the appropriation of professional learning in science education. He holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and instruction from Utah State University (2015), a Masters Degree in Instruction and Curriculum from Arizona State University (1995), a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Brigham Young University(1993). Dr. Longhurst has directed local and large scale professional development programs providing instructional learning experiences involving over 4,000 elementary teachers annually.  Currently he coordinates the Elementary STEM Endorsement program at Utah State University.

visit author page

author page

R. Ryan Dupont Utah State University

biography

Nancy Mesner Utah State University

visit author page

Professor, Department of Watershed Resources, Utah State University

visit author page

biography

Jim Dorward Utah State University

visit author page

Jim Dorward is a Professor of Education specializing in Program Evaluation, Research Methods, and Mathematics Education. His collaborations have produced the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives, the National Center for Engineering and Technology Education, an evaluation capacity building project for the Math and Science Partnership program, and the Instructional Architect service software for the National STEM Digital Library.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

This paper discusses the level of interest of middle school students’ in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields as well as the factors influencing their interest. The paper also discusses their parents’ perceptions of those fields. Students attended an outreach summer engineering camp designed to increase the interest and motivation of middle school students to go into STEM fields, specifically engineering. This camp is part of a seven year grant funded by the Department of Education as part of the GEAR UP program. The grant’s overall goal is to help more than 3,000 middle and high school students’ improve their academic achievement, creating a pipeline of academically prepared students enrolling and excelling in college. The engineering summer camp targets 6 to 12th grade underrepresented students and science teachers. The engineering camp discussed here is one component of the GEAR UP grant.

Participating students and teachers spent a week preforming real engineering research investigation in collaboration with engineering research faculty at a land grant university to study the interaction of urban and natural areas and their effect on water quality in a local water shed. During the summer camp, teacher and student participants developed engineering research hypotheses, tested those hypotheses and thought like engineers. The summer camp culminated in research posters and slide (PowerPoint) presentations where teams of students led by a science teacher described the research findings of their week-long camp. The teams discussed an engineering research hypothesis and a simple experiment to follow to verify that hypothesis helping them think like engineers.

Participating students were given surveys to complete at the beginning and at the end of the summer camp. Those surveys included questions about their interest in STEM, their engagement with STEM and their friends’ perception of science. Similarly, the parents of participating students completed surveys about their education, income and perception of science, math and engineering. While the parents did not attend the camp, they were involved via a blog that was created to keep the parents updated about the camp activities and get them involved. The blog was updated daily with a short description of the activities of the day, photos/video of the day, as well as a link to all the photos/videos taken that day. The blog also contained quotes from the students’ daily journals. Data from both students and parents was analyzed and correlated to find the factors influencing the students’ interest.

Results showed a positive trend for both students and parents. The students’ interest in STEM fields increased, particularly for those students who started the camp with low interest. The parents’ perception of STEM also improved after their children attended the camp. Factors influencing the students’ interest in STEM fields included the grades they achieve in their science and math courses, their level of STEM engagement, the perception of their friends towards STEM fields and the perception of their parents regarding science and engineering.

Mahmoud, M. M., & Becker, K. H., & Longhurst, M. L., & Dupont, R. R., & Mesner, N., & Dorward, J. (2018, June), Factors Influencing the Interest Level of Secondary Students going into STEM fields and their parents’ perceived interest in STEM (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30507

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: © 2018 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