Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Pre-College Engineering Education
Prior research comparing aspects of single-gender (female-only & male-only) summer enrichment programs to equivalent mixed-gender programs found female-only programs to be effective in educating young girls about engineering, positively influencing their perceptions of engineers and attitudes toward engineering as a career, with mixed results. A more recent examination of gains in content knowledge, self-efficacy, beliefs about gender equity and qualitative perceptions of engineers using the Middle School Attitudes toward Engineering, Knowledge of Engineering Careers Survey and the Draw an Engineer Test in equivalent post-4th grade, 2015 summer programs found significantly positive results; females in the single-gender program showed greater improvement in engineering content knowledge than females in a mixed-gender program, as well as significant increases in self-efficacy and perceptions that women can be engineers. Each program accepts 25 students each summer, with priority given to returning students. A follow-up study was conducted during the summer of 2016 to determine if changes in girls’ attitudes towards engineering, perceptions of engineers and gains in content knowledge were sustained. A majority of the students who participated during 2015 returned for the post-5th grade program in 2016 with 50% more new students. Comparisons amongst the 2016 mixed- and single-gender programs and between the 2015 and 2016 programs showed sustained effects for returning students, especially girls, and a greater 2016 impact for girls who participated in the 2015 single-gender program. A third year follow-up was conducted during the summer of 2017. Of the 25 girls who participated in the post-6th grade program, 10 of them had previously attended the post-4th grade and post 5th grade programs during the summers of 2015 and 2016 respectively. An additional 5 girls attended the post 5th grade program during the summer of 2016. In addition to repeating the same follow-up evaluation(s) performed in 2016, with further positive results, parents of returning students were asked to respond to a survey regarding their child’s school performance and interest in a STEM career. Eighty-three percent of the parents whose daughter had previously attended the female-only program for either one or two summers reported that her grades in mathematics and science had improved and 96% reported that she had expressed an interest in further STEM studies since attending the previous summer.
Hirsch, L. S. (2018, June), The Effectiveness of a Multi-year Engineering Enrichment Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/31090
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