New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
A potential benefit of the proliferation of out-of-school STEM programs is increased interest in engineering, which targets the well-documented need for recruitment and retention of high quality entrants into the engineering workforce. Hidi and Renninger’s (2006) Four-Phase Model of Interest Development (FPMID) posits that development of a person’s interest requires proper support to trigger, develop, and maintain interest in a domain. According to FPMID, a student’s interest can be triggered temporarily by a highly engaging situation (situational interest), or from a personal predisposition to engage that is more enduring and intrinsically motivated (individual interest). Each developmental phase of interest requires appropriately matched forms of support and learning opportunities in order to maintain and foster a student’s developing interest. In this study we propose the use of Lave and Wegner’s (1991) Legitimate Peripheral Participation in Communities of Practice as a model for understanding the role that the socio-cultural environment plays in the development of an individual’s interest. Without differentiated support from the community, a person may regress in their interest in a domain, or lose interest entirely. Thus, to appropriately meet students’ needs, program developers need to understand the process of increasing and maintaining student interest and design programs to meet the interest development needs of students.
The goal of this paper is twofold. First, as an example of measuring program efficacy in developing interest in engineering, we report on the authors’ findings from the use of the Four-Phase Interest Development in Engineering Survey (FIDES 2.0) with high-school students in an out-of-school/after-school engineering program. Second, we provide a detailed description of the in situ process of interest maintenance and development as described by the FPMID through the lens of Legitimate Peripheral Participation for these after-school program participants.
Program efficacy was determined using FIDES 2.0, a reliable and validated instrument that assesses interest levels across a broad range of indicators. FIDES 2.0 was administered twice to 9th – 12th grade students (N=13) in an out-of-school robotics competition program in order to assess baseline interest and then accurately document changes in participants’ interest in engineering. Initial (Mean = 5.47, σ = 0.74, α = 0.81) and post-competition scale scores 20 weeks later (Mean = 5.79, σ = 0.67, α = 0.84) confirmed that FIDES 2.0 was a highly reliable instrument, and revealed a statistically significant gain in interest over 20 weeks, p = 0.04, as predicted.
Qualitative analyses from field observations, video analysis, and participant interviews, reveal how peer interactions maintained and developed interest as participants moved closer to full participation in the community of practice over the course of the robotics competition. By combining quantitative measurement of interest with longitudinal qualitative analysis of participant interactions, this research contributes to our empirical and theoretical understanding of the emergence, development, and maintenance of interest in after-school settings, with implications for how to best design such programs in order to broaden participation and engagement in engineering.
Michaelis, J. E., & Nathan, M. (2016, June), Observing and Measuring Interest Development Among High School Students in an Out-of-School Robotics Competition Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25814
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