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Person-Thing Orientation as a Predictor of Engineering Persistence and Success

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Persistence and Retention I

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

22.1154.1 - 22.1154.9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18503

Download Count

36

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Paper Authors

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Ida B. Ngambeki Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Ida Ngambeki is pursuing a doctorate at Purdue University in Engineering Education with a concentration in Ecological Sciences and Engineering. She received her B.S. in Engineering from Smith College. Her research interests include motivation, interest, career choice, engineering and public policy, and sustainability.

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Demetra Evangelou Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Demetra Evangelou is Assistant Professor of Engineering Education in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She has a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and international expertise in early childhood policy and research methods. Her current research focuses on developmental engineering, early education antecedents of engineering thinking, developmental factors in engineering pedagogy, technological literacy and human-artifact interactions. She is a member of Sigma Xi Science Honor Society and in 2009 he was awarded the prestigious NSF CAREER Award.

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William G. Graziano Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Ph.D. (1976) University of Minnesota.
B.A., Franklin & Marshall College

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Diana Bairaktarova Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Diana Bairaktorova is a Ph.D. student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She hold B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria and an M.B.A. from Hamline University, St. Paul,Minnesota. She has seven years of professional experience, working as a Module Design and MMIC Test Engineer at TLC Precision Wafer Technology in Minneapolis, MN and as an Operations Engineer at Napco International in Hopkins, MN.

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Sara E. Branch Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Anna Woodcock Purdue University

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Anna Woodcock is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University. Her research interests lie in the broad areas of diversity, prejudice and stereotyping. Specifically she is investigating: the impact of implicit racial and gender bias on behavior and strategies to reduce bias, the processes by which stereotype threat operates, and the psychological processes underlying the underrepresentation of women and minorities in STEM. She holds a B.A. from Macquarie University, N.S.W., Australia, and an M.A. in experimental psychology from the California State University, San Marcos.

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Abstract

Person-Thing Orientation as a Predictor of Engineering Persistence and SuccessInterest, especially in the United States, is an important motivation for students in choosing amajor and the strength of their commitment to remaining in that major. In the examination ofengineering students’ reasons for persistence and success, interest has not received an in-depthtreatment. Interest as a motivational factor can be characterized and operationalized in severalways. Engineering is often typified as a discipline that primarily deals with the creation andmanipulation of man-made artefacts as opposed to a discipline centered on interpersonalinteraction. For this study interest has been characterized along the Person-Thing dimension.This has been operationalized as a differential orientation to persons, distinguished by an interestin interpersonal interactions, and an orientation to things, distinguished by a desire for masteryover objects.The participants in this study are entering their fourth, and for many their final year of college.This study is a follow up to a study conducted when the participants were first-year engineeringstudents. The initial study questioned students on their differential orientation to persons orthings and about their intention to remain in engineering. That study found that engineeringstudents tend to be higher in thing orientation than person orientation, and those studentsexpressing a stronger orientation towards things showed more interest in continuing engineeringbeyond the first year, while students expressing a weaker orientation towards things morecommonly expressed a desire to leave engineering. These findings were even stronger when onlyfemale students were considered.The follow up study, to be reported in this paper, explores the stability of these person-thingtraits across this group of students to determine whether it is a stable part of their disposition, orwhether it has changed over the course of their college education. The study also examines thesuccess of the person-thing orientation measure in predicting students’ persistence and success inengineering. This research uses a survey administered electronically to students who were in thatclass of first-year engineers. Data collection is ongoing and is expected to be completed withinthe next two months. Approximately 500 students are expected to participate in the study. Thesurvey questions students about whether they have since left engineering, or have remained inengineering and intend to graduate with an engineering degree. The survey also questionsstudents as to their plans after completing college, their performance in their major, andmeasures their current orientation to persons and things.The survey is expected to yield profiles of students’ differential orientation to persons and things.Multivariate analysis of variance will be used to analyze the data and determine whetherstudents’ orientations are stable or whether they changed as a result of their college experience.The predictive power of person-thing orientation to ascertain students’ persistence and success inengineering will also be determined.

Ngambeki, I. B., & Evangelou, D., & Graziano, W. G., & Bairaktarova, D., & Branch, S. E., & Woodcock, A. (2011, June), Person-Thing Orientation as a Predictor of Engineering Persistence and Success Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18503

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