June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Educational Research and Methods
22.1324.1 - 22.1324.18
Student connection to community in STEM education impacts identification with and affect toward the STEM disciplineWe recently developed a conceptual model that indicated that STEM studentsʼ connections toacademic communities would foster their academic engagement and subsequently theiridentification with their discipline and positive affect toward it. The links between connection tocommunity and both identification and affect are indirect, but important as the engineeringeducation community discusses what is necessary in educating engineers. It has been shown thatif we want our graduates to contribute to the engineering community of practice then we mustconsider the interdependencies among community, learning and identity.We have just completed the first year of this multi-year, multi-university study. In the first year,we tested the indirect links between connection to community and both identification with thediscipline and affect toward it. (The intermediate link, engagement, is the subject of ourongoing research). To test these links, we surveyed a total of 287 students, most of whom wereseniors, majoring in physics, math, computing sciences and engineering at five disparateuniversities. Survey items measured the STEM students’ sense of professional identity, affecttoward their discipline and their connection to community at the following levels: individualcourses, academic major and the larger institution.Our survey results indicate which measures of professional identity and affect are most relevantfor this effort. Further, our results reveal a strong Pearson correlation (0.50) between identityand connection to academic major as well as between affect and connection to academic major(0.56) , somewhat smaller correlations to a specific classroom community (0.41 and 0.39), andstill significant, but even smaller correlations to the larger institution (0.32 and 0.25). Thus,helping students connect to academic major communities and classrooms appears to increase thestudentsʼ professional identities and affect toward those professions.
Plett, M., & Jones, D. C., & Crawford, J. K., & Smith, T. F., & Peter, M.S., D. M., & Scott, E. P., & Wilson, D., & Bates, R. A., & Veilleux, N. M. (2011, June), STEM Seniors: Strong Connections to Community Are Associated with Identity and Positive Affect in the Classroom Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18486
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