June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
24.1209.1 - 24.1209.14
The Effects of Single vs. Mixed Gender Engineering Enrichment Programs on Elementary Students’ Perceptions of Engineers The Center _______ at ________ provides a series of summer enrichment programs designedto increase academically talented students' interest in the fields of science, technology,engineering and mathematics (STEM). Programs of this type can be instrumental in informingyoung students about careers in engineering and technology and helping ensure they receive theacademic background required to enter and succeed in college. One of the summer programs hasbeen designed specifically for young girls in an effort to increase the number of womeninterested in engineering and other technological careers. Although there is much debate aboutthe relative effectiveness of female-only programs, previous research comparing aspects of ourfemale-only program to equivalent mixed-gender programs has shown our programs to beparticularly effective in reaching young girls, influencing their perceptions of engineers andattitudes toward engineering as a career. The addition of equivalent male-only programsprompted additional research comparing 1) changes in students’ attitudes toward engineering, 2)increases in student learning and content knowledge, 3) classroom climate and students'interactions in the classroom and 4) students’ perceptions of engineers using the Draw anEngineer Test. The curriculum for each of the programs was exactly the same within grade-leveland the single-gender programs were taught by the same teacher. In terms of program effectiveness, results showed significant and substantial increases instudents’ content knowledge in all programs from the beginning to the end of the programs. Andalthough marked differences were found among the three different gender grouped programs interms of classroom climate and student interactions in the classroom, there were no significantdifferences between the males and females nor where there any differences between the single-gender and mixed gender programs in terms of student content knowledge or attitudes towardengineering. However, significant differences were found in students’ self-efficacy andperceptions of engineers from pre- to post. The current paper is an in-depth analysis of students’ perceptions of engineers using the Drawan Engineering Test. The relationship(s) among students’ perceptions of engineering, theattributes they assigned to the engineers in their drawing and their responses to specific items onthe attitudes toward engineering survey were also examined. Significant differences were foundin students’ perceptions of engineers and engineering among the three gender-grouped programs,particularly in terms of the gender of engineers. Girls in the female-only programs were morelikely to change the gender of their engineer from male to female in their pre- and post-drawings. Significant correlations were found between specific attributes of students’ drawings(particularly those that can be considered misconceptions) and their responses to items on theattitudes toward engineering survey. Correlations between the gender equity items on theattitudes toward engineering survey and gender attributions of the engineers in students’ drawingwere different for each of the three gender-grouped programs.
Berliner -Heyman, S. L., & Cano, R. M., & Carpinelli, J. D., & Kimmel, H. S., & Hirsch, L. S. (2014, June), The Effects of Single vs. Mixed Gender Engineering Enrichment Programs on Elementary Students’ Perceptions of Engineers Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/23142
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