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Student Attitudes Toward STEM: A Revised Instrument of Social Cognitive Career Theory Constructs (Fundamental)

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering Career Attitudes

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Page Count

15

DOI

10.18260/1-2--31001

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/31001

Download Count

1504

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Paper Authors

biography

Sarah A. Roller University of Alabama, Huntsville

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Sarah A. Roller is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She received her Ph.D. in curriculum, teaching, and educational policy from Michigan State University. Her research interests include teacher preparation and mentoring practices, research-based instructional strategies for teaching mathematics and STEM education, and teacher development.

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Sandra A. Lampley University of Alabama, Huntsville Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-9904-4622

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Sandra A. Lampley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She received her Ph.D. in Mathematics and Science Education from Middle Tennessee State University. Her research interests include professional development of pre-service and in-service teachers and research-based instructional strategies for teaching science.

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Monica Letrece Dillihunt University of Alabama, Huntsville Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-8319-7942

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Monica L. Dillihunt, Ph.D. is a graduate of Howard University, where she received her degree in educational psychology and a sub-specialty in educational leadership and administration in 2003. She also received her B.S. in psychology from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, and a M.Ed in education from Mercer University in Atlanta. Dr. Dillihunt has broad areas of research interests that include cultural responsive pedagogy, multiple intelligences, differentiating instruction, learning and socialization processes, student motivation, minority student achievement and learning differences. Dr. Dillihunt has published work that focuses on measuring the degree of alignment between home and school cultures of minority student populations and understanding its link to academic motivation and performance. She is well versed in pre-referral academic testing and evaluation. Dr. Dillihunt’s professional memberships include American Educational Research Association (AERA), Association of Black Psychologist (ABPsi), National Association of Multicultural Education (NAME), American Society of Engineer Education (ASEE) Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and National Association of Black School Educators (NABSE).

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Michael P.J. Benfield University of Alabama, Huntsville

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Dr. Michael P.J. Benfield is currently the lead of the STEM Projects Advancing Relevance and Confidence in the Classroom (SPARCC) Laboratory and a Principal Research Engineer within the Systems Management and Production (SMAP) Research Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). He holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering and Engineering Management, a M.S.E. in Industrial and Systems Engineering, and a B.S.E in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering all from UAH. Dr. Benfield is a recognized expert in STEM education in Huntsville, AL having won numerous awards including the 2010 Quest for Excellence award and the 2014 Von Braun Educator of the Year award from the National Space Club, Huntsville. He currently serves as the PI of a National Science Foundation Broadening Participation in Engineering project understanding the K-12 engineering pipeline in rural areas of Alabama.

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Matthew William Turner University of Alabama, Huntsville

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Matthew W. Turner is a principal research engineer at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. Turner has been Mission Manager of numerous Integrated Product Team Senior Design Experience projects and is the Project Manager of the Innovative Systems Project for the Increased Recruitment of Emerging and STEM Students (InSPIRESS) outreach program. Turner holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from The University of Alabama, Huntsville, and has worked in the Huntsville aerospace industry for more than 10 years supporting NASA and the DoD.

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Abstract

Literature indicates students in the K-12 setting are underperforming in STEM subjects and demonstrate a lack of interest in STEM fields. This causes concern given STEM-related career opportunities will grow considerably over the next decade and interest in STEM fields insufficiently meets U.S. imminent workforce demands. For many students, high school academic preparation plays a critical role in the decision to study STEM in college. Social cognitive career theory (SCCT; Lent, 2004) is a framework that has been utilized to study academic and career development, and more specifically the pursuit (or avoidance) of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related coursework and academic majors. In this paper we discuss the development of a survey instrument to measure the SCCT constructs that interplay in students’ lives and impact their decision to pursue (or not pursue) a STEM career and share pilot data obtained for validating the instrument.

Creation of our instrument began from an investigation of Faber, Wiebe, Corn, Townsend, and Collins’ (2013) S-STEM instrument, which was intentionally selected due to its alignment with SCCT. Four researchers mapped the S-STEM items with 86% inter-rater reliability and identified the items were not evenly distributed across the SCCT constructs. Therefore, we revised the instrument to measure students’ STEM attitudes using all five SCCT constructs (self-efficacy, outcome expectations, interests, choice goals, and choice actions). The revised instrument maintains the three categories (math, science, and engineering & technology) and the 5-point Likert-type response scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree) but more evenly distributes items so each category contained three SCCT construct questions. This resulted in 15 items per category, and 45 items total.

The revised instrument was administered online with Survey Monkey at 12 high schools across the United States. A total of 196 out of 210 students completed the survey within physics or engineering classes.

We confirmed the validity of the items by performing a confirmatory factor analysis and principal component analysis using SPSS 9.5 Version 22. We also measured the internal consistency reliability for the instrument as a whole (0.951), the category subscales (math, 0.916; science, 0.921; engineering & technology, 0.916), and calculated Cronbach’s alpha for all of the SCCT constructs within each of the subscales. For constructs yielding Cronbach’s alpha below a 0.6, individual questions were evaluated and re-worded to better represent the intended construct. Overall, this paper provides statistical analysis of a revised student survey instrument that will support a larger NSF-funded project designed to fundamentally understand why students pursue (or not pursue) STEM Careers.

References

Faber, M., Unfried, A., Wiebe, E. N., Corn, J., Townsend, L. W., & Collins, T. L. (2013). Student attitudes toward STEM: The development of upper elementary school and middle/high school student surveys. In Proceedings of the 2013 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition. Washington, DC: ASEE.

Lent, R. (2004). Social Cognitive Career Theory in S. D. Brown, & R. W. Lent (Eds.), Career development and counseling: Putting theory and research to work. (pp. 115-146). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Roller, S. A., & Lampley, S. A., & Dillihunt, M. L., & Benfield, M. P., & Turner, M. W. (2018, June), Student Attitudes Toward STEM: A Revised Instrument of Social Cognitive Career Theory Constructs (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31001

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: © 2018 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