Asee peer logo

Self Efficacy Of Women Engineering Students ? Three Years Of Data At U.S. Institutions

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

The Impact of Curriculum on the Retention of Women Students

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1262.1 - 12.1262.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Rose Marra University of Missouri

visit author page

ROSE M. MARRA is an Associate Professor in the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies at the University of Missouri. She is PI of the NSF-funded Assessing Women and Men in Engineering (AWE) and Assessing Women In Student Environments (AWISE) projects. Her research interests include gender equity issues, the epistemological development of college students, and promoting meaningful learning in web-based environments.

visit author page


Barbara Bogue Pennsylvania State University

visit author page

BARBARA BOGUE is Associate Professor of Engineering Science and Mechanics and Women in Engineering. She is co-PI of AWE and AWISE. Her research interests include recruitment and retention of women in engineering, assessment and career development.

visit author page


Kelly Rodgers University of Missouri

visit author page

KELLY A. RODGERS, M. A. is a doctoral candidate in educational psychology at the University of Missouri - Columbia. Her research interests include motivational issues in minority student retention and the socio-emotional aspects of gifted minority adolescents.

visit author page


Demei Shen University of Missouri

visit author page

DEMEI SHEN is a doctoral candidate in Information Science and Learning Technologies at the University of Missouri - Columbia. Her research interests include social computing and motivation in web-based learning.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Self Efficacy of Women Engineering Students: Three Years of Data at U.S. Institutions

Abstract This paper describes the results of three years of engineering self-efficacy data collected from engineering students at five institutions across the U.S. Results indicate that while students show positive progress on some self–efficacy and related subscales, they show a decrease on isolation subscale from the first to second measurement period. It is also notable that there are almost no gender differences and that self efficacy seems to be related to participation in extracurricular activities and student plans to persist in the degree.

Background Self-efficacy has been found to be an important factor in the success of women studying engineering 1,2.Although efficaciousness applies to any situation, it is particularly important in choosing and executing constructive actions in situations that are perceived as negative or a barrier to success (e.g. lack of a meaningful role in a team project). Given that women are generally under-represented in engineering classrooms, a strong sense of efficacy can help them to persist in such situations.

This paper reports on three years of engineering self-efficacy data collected from male and female engineering students at five institutions across the United States. The third year of data includes male respondents who are compared to their female counterparts. We measured self- efficacy via the LAESE survey instrument (longitudinal assessment of engineering self-efficacy; see

Self-efficacy and Engineering Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy is an extensively researched psychological construct grounded in social cognitive theory. Self-efficacy, as defined by Albert Bandura 3 “refers to beliefs in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments” (Bandura 4, p.3). Bandura 3 claims that self-efficacy determines “the courses of action people choose to pursue, how much effort they put forth in given endeavors, how long they will persevere in the face of obstacles and failures, their resilience to adversity, whether their thought patterns are self- hindering or self-aiding, how much stress and depression they experience in coping with taxing environmental demands, and the level of accomplishments they realize.” (p. 3) In fact, a substantial amount of research is available to support these claims. Most relevant to women in engineering is the prolific research on self-efficacy beliefs in relation to academic achievement 4 and to career choice 6. The self-efficacy research literature makes a convincing case that a strong sense of self-efficacy is integral to all students’ entry and persistence in engineering. Self- efficacy is hypothesized to come from four sources – two being more influential than the others. The most influential are mastery and vicarious experiences; social (including verbal) persuasion and physiological states (e.g. eliminating fear reactions can improve efficacy).

The term “self-efficacy” is often used interchangeably with several others, notably “confidence”. Understanding the differences in these words is important in accurately interpreting the research

Marra, R., & Bogue, B., & Rodgers, K., & Shen, D. (2007, June), Self Efficacy Of Women Engineering Students ? Three Years Of Data At U.S. Institutions Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1534

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: © 2007 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