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Measuring the Impact of a High School Intervention on Students’ Attitudes in Information Technology: Validation and Use of an Attitude Survey

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Computer Science and Information Technology in K-12 Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1053.1 - 22.1053.17



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Paper Authors


Anna Victoria Forssen Colorado School of Mines

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Anna Forssen received her B.A. degree in Psychology from University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. She is currently working on a M.S. degree in Applied Statistics at Colorado School of Mines. Her research interests include the statistical evaluation of educational and psychological research data.

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Barbara M. Moskal Colorado School of Mines

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Barbara Moskal received her Ed.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a Professor of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, the Interim Director of the Trefny Institute for Educational Innovation, and the Director of the Center for Assessment in STEM at the Colorado School of Mines and an Associate Editor for the Journal of Engineering Education. Her research interests are educational project assessment and evaluation, K-12 Outreach and gender equity in STEM.

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Alka R. Harriger Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Alka Harriger joined the faculty of the Computer and Information Technology Department (CIT) in 1982 and is currently a Professor of CIT and Assistant Department Head. Professor Harriger is leading the $1.2 million NSF-ITEST funded project called Surprising Possibilities Imagined and Realized through Information Technology (SPIRIT), which has offered three sets of educational programs since July 2008 to a total of 68 high school teachers, 28 guidance counselors, and 217 high school students. She has co-authored four textbooks on computer programming and numerous conference and journal publications in a variety of areas. Her current interests include reducing the IT gender gap, web application development, and service learning.

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Measuring the Impact of a High School Intervention on Students’ Attitudes in Information Technology: Validation and Use of an Attitude Survey Attracting and retaining women and minorities in science, technology,engineering and mathematic (STEM) fields is a common challenge faced by today’suniversities. In response, various projects that are underway across the nation seek toincrease these groups’ interests and, hopefully, their eventual participation in STEM. Achallenge to these efforts has been measuring, in the short term, the impact of programson students’ interests with respect to the STEM fields. Many of the current attitudesurveys have been investigator developed and have limited validity. The proposed paperwill describe the validation of an attitude survey which was designed to measure highschool students’ attitudes with respect to the field of information technology. This paperwill also report the results of using this instrument to examine changes in high schoolstudents’ attitudes from the beginning to end of a program which was designed toimprove attitudes with respect to information technology. The attitude survey containstwo researcher-defined factors: gender stereotypes and general interest in informationtechnology. Using data collected during the summers of 2008 and 2009, a confirmatoryfactor analysis was completed to statistically examine whether the survey responses wereloading on the anticipated factors; the results support the existence of the proposedfactors. Additionally, t-tests and linear regression analyses were used to measure whetherthe instrument was detecting changes in students’ attitudes from the beginning to the endof the program. Results indicate that students experienced a positive change in attitudeswith regard to information technology (p=0.0063), but no change was detected inattitudes with regard to gender stereotypes (p=0.1123). Additionally, no differences in theeffectiveness of the program were found when comparing attitudes across gender andethnic groups. However, results differed for both the information technology and genderstereotype factors across year of implementation (p= 0.0112 and 0.0334, respectively).The proposed paper will discuss the results of the validation process for the attitudesurvey and the results of the information technology intervention program. Greater detailswill also be provided on the nature of the information technology program.

Forssen, A. V., & Moskal, B. M., & Harriger, A. R. (2011, June), Measuring the Impact of a High School Intervention on Students’ Attitudes in Information Technology: Validation and Use of an Attitude Survey Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18334

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