New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Educational Research and Methods
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
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