Asee peer logo

High School Students’ Attitudes to Engineering and Engineers Related to their Career Choice

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Impacts on K-12 Student Identity, Career Choice, and Perceptions of Engineers

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.665.1 - 24.665.17



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Adriana Anunciatto Depieri University of Sao Paulo

visit author page

For almost 10 years I have worked as an assintant professor and since 2003, I have worked for the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and innovation in the Popularization of Science and Technology issues. Besides policy formulation and implementation of programs to popularize S & T, we give support to improve science teaching in schools, in partnership with the Ministry of Education. Authorized by deads, I have dedicated most of time as a PhD candidate at the University of Sao Paulo for the last two years in the area of Enginnering.

visit author page


Roseli de Deus Lopes P.E. Escola Politécnica, Universidade de São Paulo

visit author page

ROSELI DE DEUS LOPES. Associate Professor at the Electronic Systems Engineering Department, Escola Politécnica, Universidade de São Paulo (EP-USP). She received the undergraduate, master, doctorate and post-doctorate degrees in Electrical Engineering from EP-USP. She is the vice-chair of the Instrumentation Center of Interactive Tecnologies at USP (CITI-USP). She was vice-chair (2006-2008) and director (2008-feb.2010) of Estação Ciência, a Center for Scientific, Technological and Cultural Dissemination of USP. She is a researcher at the Laboratório de Sistemas Integráveis (LSI) of EP-USP since 1988, where she is a principal investigator of the Interactive Electronic Media research group (which includes research in computer graphics, digital image processing, techniques and devices for human-computer interaction, virtual reality and augmented reality). She coordinates research projects in the area of Interactive Electronic Media, with emphasis on applications related to Education and Health. She coordinates scientific dissemination initiatives and projects aimed at identifying and developing talents in Science and Engineering. She was responsible for the design and feasibility of Febrace (Brazilian Fair of Science and Engineering), the biggest national pre-college science and enginnering fair in Brazil. Since 2003, she acts as the general coordinator of Febrace. She is the current academic coordinator of the "USP e as Profissões" (USP and Careers) program at USP. She is a member of the working group of technical and educational support for the program of One Computer per Student (UCA - um computador por aluno), sponsored by the Ministery of Education. She is a member of the deliberative council of the USP Museum of Sciences.

visit author page

Download Paper |


High School Students’ Attitudes to Engineering and Engineers related to their Career ChoiceThere is a continuous worldwide need to increase the number of skilled engineeringgraduates in order to improve the competitiveness of national economies and tofacilitate society evolution. Inspiring young people to choose careers in engineeringmay be a path to increase its engineering enrollments. Yet students must be moremotivated and more prepared in high school programs to provide society with betterengineering students and professionals.Added to well-known relevance of science and mathematics for the formation ofengineers, many other student entry-level attitudes may affect their level of interest andmotivation to pursue engineering courses and careers. We believe that more knowledgeof engineering and engineers’ daily life makes students’ attitudes more favorabletowards engineering; however, its lack may be moving away students from theengineering profession and making them choose a different career path. This is a reasonto enhance infusion of engineering activities into existing high school courses in orderto promote more valuable attitudes towards engineering.High school students’ attitudes to engineering may be an important predictor of not onlybeing adequately prepared to engineering but its pursuit of it. If more high schoolstudents become positive engineering attitudinal, more of them will be motivated tomake engineering a career choice.This paper presents a study of Brazilian high school students’ attitudes to engineeringand engineers, and how these relate to their intention of taking engineering universitycourses. We hypothesized that students’ attitudes to engineering and engineers weresignificantly more positive when directly related to their engineering career choice.An attitudinal scale student survey was developed to determine if high school students’attitudes to engineering and engineers differ between students who consider engineeringas a career (group 1) and students that do not consider engineering as a career (group 2).Students were asked to complete a paper-based questionnaire during a career event on aUniversity Campus. The survey structure consisted of three parts: participants’ profile(age, gender, type of school, kind of course and class year), evaluated questions (47 six-point Likert-type scale items) and engineering choice or not. We collected 508 paper-based format answered questionnaires, digitalized and analyzed the data.The primary data analysis techniques used in this study included a quantitative methodof descriptive statistics analysis of the survey; categorizing themes using analysismatrix, and cross-case analysis.Overall survey results demonstrated that high school students’ attitudes to engineeringare positive. Contradicting our initial hypothesis, except for a few items, thequestionnaires data analysis show that students’ attitudes to engineering did not differsignificantly between the two groups. Besides revision, retesting and rephrasing needed,the attitudinal part of the survey seems to access valid and predictive aspects of highschool students’ attitudes to engineering. Our overall impression of this research wasthat the content of the items and the general purpose of the survey make an importantcontribution to the field of engineering education, in which considerable efforts need tobe put into attracting more prepared and motivated young people to engineering.REFERENCES:ABET CRITERIA FOR ACCREDITING ENGINEERING PROGRAMS, 2009.COSGROVE, C. R.. Engineering Leadership Helping High School Students Make Career Choices.Frontiers in Education Conference, 1994HILPERT, J et al. An Exploratory Factor Analysis of the Pittsburgh Freshman Engineering AttitudesSurvey. 38th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference F2B-9, Saratoga Springs, NY, 2008..HIRSCH, L. et al. High School Students’ attitudes to and knowlesge about Engineeringi.. 33rdASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference F2A-7. Boulder, CO, 2003.ROBINSON, M. & Kenny, B.. Engineering Literacy in High School Students. Bulletin of ScienceTechnology & Society 2003 23: 95YODER, B.L. Engineering by the Numbers. ASEE publications, 2012, at

Depieri, A. A., & de Deus Lopes, R. (2014, June), High School Students’ Attitudes to Engineering and Engineers Related to their Career Choice Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20556

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: © 2014 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