June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.1616.1 - 26.1616.13
Undergraduate Students’ Materials Science and Engineering Self-Efficacy: Assessment and ImplicationsIncreasing engineering students’ persistence in their programs and fields after graduation is a goal of bothacademic institutions and government agencies such as the National Science Foundation. Althoughentrance to academic programs typically relies on accessing the skills and prior achievement of students,some researchers have found that students’ achievement and persistence within engineeringundergraduate programs can be linked to individual students’ beliefs. The purpose of the study was todevelop and validate measures to assess materials science and engineering (MSE) self-efficacy and toidentify the correlation between students’ MSE self-efficacy and their academic achievement.The authors developed 11 self-efficacy items for MSE to cover knowledge normally covered during a onesemester course provided to undergraduates in a range of engineering disciplines. These items wereembedded into a larger online survey containing measures of self-efficacy and perceived value along withdemographic information. Undergraduate engineering students (n = 81) from a southeastern universitywere recruited to complete this pilot survey at two time points. At the beginning of the semester, 81students completed the survey; 31 students completed the survey at end of the semester. As a result of thelow response rate during fall 2013, the authors elected to administer the same survey questions via papersurveys in students’ classrooms during the spring semester of 2014. This approach yielded 247 completedsurveys at the beginning of the semester (93.9% response rate). The majority of responses were receivedfrom Caucasian (82.6%) and male (71.7%) students. Students represented the same majors in varyingproportion: 13.0% bioengineering, 33.2% industrial engineering, 3.2% materials science, 49.8%mechanical engineering, 0.4% general engineering, and 0.4% other. At the end of the semester, 197surveys were completed (74.9% response rate); 186 of those surveys were completed by students whoalso completed the initial survey at the beginning of the term (70.7% response rate for both time points).Data were manually entered, anonymized, and then triple checked for entry errors by separate researchers.Achievement data (final course grades, cumulative grade point average, and engineering specific gradepoint average) were obtained from the university’s office of institutional research and course instructors.Data were cleaned and descriptive statistics were calculated at the item and scale level. Cronbach’s alphawas used to examine internal consistency of the items within each scale. The eleven items included in theMaterials Science and Engineering Self- Efficacy scale were shown to have a Cronbach’s alpha of (0.93)when analyzed using the data collected during spring 2014 (n = 243). Future work will look atunderstanding the relationship between this scale and student achievement outcomes (course grade,cumulative and engineering GPAs).
Kennedy, M. S., & Mamaril, N., & Economy, D. R., & Usher, E. L., & Li, C., & Sharp, J. L. (2015, June), Undergraduate Students’ Materials Science and Engineering Self-efficacy: Assessment and Implications Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24952
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