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Motivational Attitudes and Behaviors in Capstone Projects: Quantitative Validation of Assessment Instruments

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Motivation, Attitudes, and Beliefs

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30825

Download Count

21

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Paper Authors

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Bashirah Ibrahim Ohio State University

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Bashirah Ibrahim is a postdoctoral researcher in engineering education at the Ohio State University.

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Peter Rogers Ohio State University

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Dr. Peter Rogers is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Engineering Education The Ohio State University. He joined the university in October 2008 bringing with him 35 years of industrial experience. His career includes senior leadership roles in engineering, sales, and manufacturing developing products using multidisciplinary teams to convert customer needs to commercially viable products and services.
Rogers co-led the development of an ABET-approved year-long Capstone design experience. With a focus on providing students with a broader experience base, the multidisciplinary program applies teams of engineers, business, design, and other students to work with companies to help them be more competitive. Rogers expanded this one-year program to a four-year Integrated Business and Engineering (IBE) honors program.

Rogers earned his Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, focused on mechanical engineering and manufacturing

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Denny C. Davis Ohio State University

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Dr. Davis is Visiting Professor in the Engineering Education Department at The Ohio State University and Emeritus Professor in Engineering Education at Washington State University. For three decades, he has led multi-institution teams in the development and testing of curriculum materials and assessments for engineering design courses. He is the owner of Verity Design Learning LLC, a publisher of workbooks for design reviews and teamwork development. He is a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education.

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Lin Ding Ohio State University

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Lin Ding, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University. Dr. Ding’s scholarly interests lie in discipline-based STEM education research. His work includes theoretical and empirical investigations of student content learning, problem solving, reasoning skills, and epistemological development. Dr. Ding specializes in research-based assessment development and focuses primarily on the quantitative research paradigm. He has published numerous high-impact journal articles, book chapters, and research proceedings papers. In addition, Dr. Ding has been leading multiple federal and state projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Ohio Department of Education. Also, he frequently serves as an invited editorial board member, referee or panelist for various international journals, funding agencies, and professional associations.

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Kaycee Ash Ohio State University

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Kaycee Ash is a Chemical Engineering undergraduate student at The Ohio State University. She started working towards her Bachelor’s of Science degree in August 2014. In the past, she has worked with other students by helping them better themselves academically, and she has worked on chemical manufacturing and transport at Ohio Chemical Services. She joined the research team in December of 2015 and is currently working on assessing motivation in academia.

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Abstract

This research paper reports the validation of instruments for assessing engineering students’ motivational attitudes and behaviors in their capstone design course. Motivation plays a key role in engineering practice, particularly with respect to students’ efficiency and effectiveness as well as their capability to engage in teamwork either in the capstone course or the workplace. The 2013 ASEE report on Transforming Undergraduate Education of Engineers has identified five personal and professional abilities to be developed in the capstone course, one of which is motivation. Prior research confirmed the need for professional skills which are usually not effectively developed in engineering graduates. There is a need to assess students’ motivation in engineering programs in order to form foundations for curriculum improvement.

For our project, we designed several assessment instruments. This paper focuses on two instruments, motivational attitudes and behaviors. Our instruments are different from existing ones by the fact that they emphasize projects in capstone design courses which provide more authentic setting for engineering experiences. One of the Likert scale instruments consists of 20 intrinsic and extrinsic motivational attitudes. The other includes 20 motivational behaviors grouped into five categories: work quality and quantity, level of supervision, team effectiveness, initiative, and self-development. The behaviors instrument also includes a peer evaluation of the above-mentioned five areas. The instruments were designed after reviewing the literature for motivation constructs in capstone courses, several rounds of workshops with faculty from different institutions, industry inputs, and results of a pilot study with an initial version of the instrument on a group of 124 students at a large mid-western university. For the current validation, the attitudes instrument was administered via Qualtrics to 303 students during the first few weeks of their capstone course. The participants were from six institutions, ranging from large public universities to small private colleges including all female and historically black universities. The participants spent an average of 10 minutes to complete the instrument. We calculated the reliability index of the instrument for the extent to which the measurements are repeatable, and the item discrimination index for the extent to which the items can distinguish highly motivated students from poorly motivated ones. Statistical validation of the instrument yielded a reliability index of 0.71 (desired range: ≥ 0.7) and item discrimination index ≥ 0.3 (the ideal range) for 14 of the 20 items. These results indicate that the instrument is marginally reliable for group measurement and most of the motivational attitude items allow us to distinguish between students who are highly and weakly motivated. The research team will make small modifications to the six items with the lowest discrimination scores to make them more specific to capstone courses and re-validate them after the second application of this instrument.

Successful attainment of reliable and valid instruments provides the foundation for potential curriculum changes in the design and teaching of capstone courses to improve motivational growth and better prepare students for careers.

Ibrahim, B., & Rogers, P., & Davis, D. C., & Ding, L., & Ash, K. (2018, June), Motivational Attitudes and Behaviors in Capstone Projects: Quantitative Validation of Assessment Instruments Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30825

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