Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Pre-College Engineering Education
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.
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
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