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High School Teachers’ Beliefs About Engineering Preparation

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Conference

2009 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Enhancing Recruitment and Retention in Engineering Education

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count

20

Page Numbers

14.669.1 - 14.669.20

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/5500

Download Count

32

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Paper Authors

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Mitchell Nathan University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Natalie Tran California State University, Bakersfield

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Amy Atwood University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Amy Prevost University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Al Phelps University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Professor, Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
Director, Center on Education and Work
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Over the past two decades my research, teaching, and public service work has focused on the interaction between the education and economic sectors with particular attention to policy initiatives, equity issues, and professional development.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

High School Teachers’ Beliefs about Engineering Preparation

Abstract

Instructional practice and teacher decision making are influenced by teachers’ beliefs about learning and instruction. The primary goal of this study is to develop a statistically reliable survey instrument (α ≥ .70) that documents teachers’ beliefs and expectations about high school pre-engineering instruction and preparation for students’ future success in college engineering programs and careers in engineering. The secondary goal is to examine how teachers would advise students described in vignettes with varying achievement, gender, ethnic and socio- economic profiles who are seeking to pursue future studies and careers in engineering and related technical fields. To achieve these goals we developed the Engineering Education Beliefs and Expectations Instrument (EEBEI) and administered it to high school STEM teachers (N = 144) of science, mathematics and pre-engineering classes. Teachers indicated that engineering preparation takes place in multiple contexts, including academic and technical education classes, as well as home, community and workplace settings. Teachers generally believe that to become an engineer a student must show high academic achievement in their math, science and technology courses. Teachers also believe that having a parent as an engineer increases a student’s likelihood of becoming one, as does being male and either white or Asian. While, socio-economic status (SES) was not reported as an important consideration for determining student preparation when teachers were explicitly asked, it emerged as an influential factor when it was implicit in situated decision-making using student vignettes. Comparisons between fictional students with varying economic and social background but comparable academic performance histories suggest that SES did influence teachers’ endorsements for student pre- engineering enrollment and for predicting a student’s future success in the engineering profession. By establishing a reliable instrument that measures teachers’ beliefs and expectations about high school pre-engineering instruction and preparation for students’ future success engineering, we hope to contribute to the wide scale efforts currently in place to expand and improve engineering education and foster a more technologically advanced society.

Introduction

Education research shows that instructional practice and teacher decision making are influenced by teachers’ beliefs about learning and instruction1, 2, 3. The primary goal of this current study is to develop a statistically reliable survey instrument that documents teachers’ beliefs and expectations about high school pre-engineering instruction and preparation for students’ future success in college engineering programs and careers in engineering. In pursuing this goal we strive to operationalize several psychological constructs--beliefs, attitudes and expectations for engineering studies--and show how they relate to teacher decision-making regarding their instructional practices. We call this general survey the Engineering Education Beliefs and Expectations Instrument (EEBEI, pronounced “eebee”). The secondary goal is to examine how teachers would advise students described in vignettes with varying achievement, gender, ethnic and socio-economic profiles who are seeking to pursue future studies and careers in engineering and related technical fields. The teachers in our study included high school science, math, and

Nathan, M., & Tran, N., & Atwood, A., & Prevost, A., & Phelps, A. (2009, June), High School Teachers’ Beliefs About Engineering Preparation Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5500

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: © 2009 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