Asee peer logo

Student Self-Perceptions of Design and Creative Thinking (Fundamental)

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Student Reflection, Self-Perception, Misconceptions, and Uncertainty

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Andrew Jackson Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Andrew Jackson is currently pursuing a PhD in Technology through Purdue's Polytechnic Institute. His previous middle school teaching experience informs his role as a graduate teaching assistant for TECH 120, an introductory course in design thinking. He recently completed his Master of Science in Technology Leadership and Innovation from Purdue University with a thesis investigating middle school engineering self-efficacy beliefs. His research interests are engineering self-efficacy, creativity, and decision making.

visit author page


Nathan Mentzer Purdue University, West Lafayette

visit author page

Nathan Mentzer is an assistant professor in the College of Technology with a joint appointment in the College of Education at Purdue University. Hired as a part of the strategic P12 STEM initiative, he prepares Engineering/Technology candidates for teacher licensure. Dr. Mentzer’s educational efforts in pedagogical content knowledge are guided by a research theme centered in student learning of engineering design thinking on the secondary level. Nathan was a former middle and high school technology educator in Montana prior to pursuing a doctoral degree. He was a National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE) Fellow at Utah State University while pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. After graduation he completed a one year appointment with the Center as a postdoctoral researcher.

visit author page


Dawn Laux

visit author page

Dawn Laux is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Technology (CIT) at Purdue University. She has been with the University since 2007 and is responsible for teaching database fundamentals courses and introductory technology courses. Laux has 10 years of industrial experience in the information technology field, and her research area of interest includes technology readiness, the social impacts of technology, and increasing interest in the field of computing.

visit author page


David Sears

visit author page

David A. Sears is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Studies at Purdue University. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from Reed College and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Stanford University. His research examines instructional practices for promoting learning and transfer in individual and group contexts with a focus on the STEM disciplines.

visit author page

author page

Paul Asunda Purdue University

Download Paper |


Design is an essential part of engineering for promoting critical thinking and creativity. Despite the demand for creativity, education programs have even been criticized for not focusing enough on creativity and even sometimes eroding it. Patterns of diminishing interest in engineering throughout secondary education suggest that further work needs to be done to understand the impact design activities might have on student attitudes. This is important even as young as middle school when students are forming self-perceptual beliefs and career interest. The purpose of this correlational study was to examine middle school student design thinking and creative thinking changes following engagement in an engineering design curriculum. Student self-efficacy, “beliefs in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments” (Bandura, 1997, p. 3) is a necessary prerequisite for action and persistence. We hypothesized that design thinking and creative thinking self-efficacy would be related and increase following the curriculum. An online pre-test and post-test were administered to middle school students at the beginning and end of a 16-week course on technological literacy in a STEM context. The instrument included nine questions evaluating student engineering design self-efficacy and 12 questions evaluating student creative thinking self-efficacy. Pearson’s correlation scores were used to describe the relationship between design thinking and creative thinking self-efficacy. Paired and independent t tests were used to evaluate gains in both measures. Students had highly related levels of design thinking and creative thinking self-efficacy before and after the curriculum, r(1176) = .777, p < .001 and r(465) = .843, p < .001 respectively. Analysis of paired responses demonstrated significant gains in both forms of self-efficacy, M = 1.32, t(133) = 7.60, p < .001 and M = 0.79, t(124) = 4.19, p < .001. Because a limited number of responses could be paired, subsequent independent sample t tests were performed which supported claims of an increase in design thinking and creative thinking self-efficacy beliefs and could utilize a greater sample size. The present study provides empirical evidence for an alignment between design and creativity. Results of the study also indicate that design experiences can positively impact self-efficacy beliefs for design and creative thinking. Due to the overlap of these two constructs, strategies encouraging self-efficacy in design and creative thinking may be transferrable. The concurrent increase of creative thinking confidence following participation in a design curriculum also increases the pedagogical value of design.

Jackson, A., & Mentzer, N., & Laux, D., & Sears, D., & Asunda, P. (2016, June), Student Self-Perceptions of Design and Creative Thinking (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25927

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: © 2016 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