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STEM-oriented Students´ Perception of the Relevance of Physics

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering Physics and Physics Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics and Physics

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Genaro Zavala Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico and Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile Orcid 16x16

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Genaro Zavala is a Full Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the School of Engineering and Sciences at Tecnologico de Monterrey. Professor Zavala is National Researcher Level 1 of the National System of Researchers of Mexico and leads the Physics Education Research and Innovation Group. He works with the following research lines: conceptual understanding of students on subjects of physics, transfer of understanding between the different areas of knowledge, use of technology in learning, impact of using innovative learning environments and development of assessment tools. He has 91 articles in refereed journals and conferences, over 610 citations according to Scopus, 6 books, 14 book chapters, 142 national and international presentations in countries like Korea, Denmark, Hungary, Cuba, United States, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina and 29 international workshops in Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Italy. Genaro Zavala was appointed to the editorial board of the Physical Review Special Topics-Physics Education Research journal of the American Physical Society for the period 2015 to 2018, vice president of the Latin American Physics Education Network (LAPEN) for the period 2013-2015 and is currently the coordinator of the Topical Group: Evaluation of Learning and Instruction of the International Group for Research and Teaching of Physics (GIREP by its French acronym). Dr. Zavala is a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) where he was vice president candidate, a member of the Committee on Research in Physics Education (RIPE) a member and chair of the International Education Committee and elected member of Leadership Organizing Physics Education Research Council (PERLOC ) in the period 2015-2018.

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Angeles Dominguez Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, and Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile Orcid 16x16

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Angeles Dominguez is a Professor of the Department of Mathematics within the School of Engineering, a researcher at the School of Education, and Associate Dean of Faculty Development at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico. Also, she is currently collaborating with the School of Engineering at the University Andres Bello at Santiago, Chile. Angeles holds a bachelor degree in Physics Engineering from Tecnologico de Monterrey and a doctoral degree in Mathematics Education from Syracuse University, NY. Dr. Dominguez is a member of the Researchers’ National System in Mexico (SNI-1) and has been a visiting researcher at Syracuse University, at UT-Austin and at Universidad Andres Bello. She teaches undergraduate courses in Mathematics, graduate courses in Education, and is a thesis advisor on the master and doctoral programs on education at the Tecnologico de Monterrey. Her main research areas are: models and modeling, use of technology to improve teaching and learning, gender issues in STEM education.

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We present initial findings from an ongoing project regarding the factors that influence secondary and high school students to pursue a professional engineering career. In this article, we offer data from the analysis of a questionnaire administered to high school students who participated in a STEM competition. The review of the information gathered with these students is particularly critical in our main project since these students have a strong orientation toward STEM. Students had a choice to participate in up to two subjects out of five available: physics, mathematics, biology, chemistry and computer science. We administered a science and technology questionnaire and 657 students out of 721 who participated in the competition responded. The survey included 13 questions in a Likert scale regarding self-efficacy and perception of the importance of the subjects presented. In the first section of the questionnaire, students responded to queries that assess physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics and computer science self-efficacy. In the second section of the survey, students answered questions that determine their perception of the importance of physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science on their current studies and their future professional career. This report contrasts self-efficacy and perception of the importance of physics between students who chose physics as the subject in their competition and those who chose a different STEM subject. The analysis presents the differences between students who are more exact science-oriented, i.e., mathematics and computer science, and those who are more natural science-oriented, i.e., chemistry and biology.

Zavala, G., & Dominguez, A. (2018, June), STEM-oriented Students´ Perception of the Relevance of Physics Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30991

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