Asee peer logo

Further Examination of the Engineering Students' Motivational Beliefs Scale

Download Paper |


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

Student Success III: Affect and Attitudes

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Casey Marie Williamson James Madison University

visit author page

Casey Williamson is a Psychological Sciences master’s student in the concentration of Experimental Psychology, and a Graduate Research Assistant in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. She received a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology at James Madison University, and will receive a Master's of Arts in Experimental Psychology this coming May. As a graduate assistant, she is currently working closely with the engineering department performing interdisciplinary research with the goal of improving engineering programs at the undergraduate level. Her research interests include cognitive theories, memory, problem solving, theories of the mind, and the role of identity and motivation in education.

visit author page


Mariafé Taeví Panizo James Madison University

visit author page

Mariafé Panizo is a first year graduate student in JMU’s Graduate Psychology Doctoral program. She has been working on engineering education research projects for two and a half years, focusing on non-cognitive factors that impact engineering student academic success.

visit author page


Olga Pierrakos James Madison University

visit author page

Olga Pierrakos is a Founding Faculty and Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. She is currently a Program Director at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Undergraduate Education. Her expertise and interests focus on diversity and inclusion, engineer identity, PBL, innovative learning-centered pedagogies, assessment of student learning, engineering design, capstone design, etc. She also conducts research in cardiovascular fluid mechanics and sustainable energy technologies. She holds a BS and MS in Engineering Mechanics and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Virginia Tech.

visit author page


Robin D. Anderson James Madison University

visit author page

Robin D. Anderson serves as the Academic Unit Head for the Department of Graduate Psychology at James Madison University. She holds a doctorate in Assessment and Measurement. She previously served as the Associate Director of the Center for Assessment and Research Studies at JMU. Her areas of research include assessment practice and engineering education research.

visit author page

Download Paper |


As the attrition problem that is affecting undergraduate engineering education persists, engineering education researchers attempt to determine not only the cause, but also solutions to this ongoing challenge. One factor that is often attributed to the attrition problem and has received interest from educators and researchers is motivation. Engineering students’ motivational beliefs is thus the focus of this paper and a focus of a larger research program for the research team, who begun developing an instrument over a year ago. To measure motivation, the Engineering Students’ Motivational Beliefs Scale (ESMBS) has been grounded in Expectancy-Value Theory (EVT) and Expectancy-Value-Cost Frameworks (EVCF). Such theoretical framing enables us to gain insight into students’ perceptions of their expectancies for success in pursuing engineering, the values associated with pursuing engineering, and the costs of pursuing engineering. Though, we are not the first research team to develop such an instrument focused on measuring motivation, we are the first in the engineering education community building off the newest literature in the area of motivation. The development of the ESMBS involves the use of the Benson’s Model of Construct Validation. In this model, three stages (substantive, structural, and external) are conducted, each contributing to construct validation in a different way. During the substantive stage, theoretical information about each construct is gathered, and working definitions are constructed. This is the current phase in the development of the ESMBS. Next, the structural phase consists of administering the instrument and conducting exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Items are then modified accordingly. Finally, the external phase consists of an administration of the updated instrument and correlational analyses with related instruments. During the substantive phase, a pilot study was conducted. Preliminary data from this pilot was promising, though it suggested that specific areas of the theory should be re-evaluated, especially in the domain of engineering education. In order to accurately assess the effectiveness of the ESMBS in measuring motivation, more rigorous testing was carried out using a larger sample size than the original pilot study. The current paper is thus focused on further examining the ESMBS to determine if the instrument successfully measures motivation. Utilizing a larger sample size than previous studies, the research team has further evaluated the relationships that have been observed in a sample of engineering students between expectancies, values, and costs. Correlational analyses show that results are still mixed, and that not all constructs are behaving in ways predicted by the theory, which in itself speaks to the importance of validating the instrument to the specific population of engineering students. The current paper will discuss these relationships, as well as implications for future research and the next steps of the development of the ESMBS.

Williamson, C. M., & Panizo, M. T., & Pierrakos, O., & Anderson, R. D. (2016, June), Further Examination of the Engineering Students' Motivational Beliefs Scale Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26989

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: © 2016 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