June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.1441.1 - 11.1441.13
What Affects Student Self-Efficacy in an Honors First-Year Engineering Course?
Self-efficacy, an individual’s belief in his or her ability to perform certain tasks, has been linked to student achievement, interest, and retention in the fields of science, engineering, and mathematics. The more positive a student’s self-efficacy, the better the student will perform in class and in other aspects of his or her life. Helping engineering students develop their sense of self-efficacy requires an understanding of what influences students’ efficacy beliefs and how students form their beliefs. Previously, we identified nine factors affecting the efficacy beliefs of first-year engineering students enrolled in Engineering Problem Solving and Computer Tools at Purdue University: understanding or mastery of the material; drive or motivation toward success; teaming issues; computer skills relevant to the material; the availability of help and ability to access it; issues surrounding the attempt and completion of assignments; student problem-solving abilities; enjoyment, interest, and satisfaction associated with the course and its material; and grades related to aspects of the course. Some factors promoted students’ efficacy; others reduced it. A parallel study has been conducted with first-year honors engineering students at the same university. A survey was administered as a required homework assignment to students in the first-year engineering class, Honors Engineering Problem Solving and Computer Tools. Students were asked to rate their confidence in their ability to succeed in the course as well as to list and rank the factors they perceived as influencing their self-efficacy beliefs. This paper will present the influences of honors first-year engineering student self-efficacy beliefs and compare them to the beliefs and influences of non-honors first-year engineering students. Such information may help educators construct a learning environment that promotes positive self-efficacy, and thus the achievement and retention of their first-year engineering students.
Self-efficacy—an individual’s belief in his or her ability to perform certain tasks1—can affect one’s overall effort, persistence in overcoming obstacles, and the choices he or she makes in either a positive or negative manner. Studies of undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields have linked their persistence2-9, achievement2,3,10,11, and interest2,10-13 in their disciplines to their self- efficacy beliefs. For example, many women who leave STEM programs have less confidence in their abilities than those who stay in the programs (“stayers”), despite earning similar grades8,14,15. Moreover, female stayers possess lower self-efficacy perceptions than their male colleagues16-18.
Studies of STEM students have revealed factors that influence students’ self-efficacy. In one such study, a total of nine factors were identified as influencing the efficacy beliefs of more than 20% of the engineering students in a first-year engineering course19: understanding or mastery of the material; drive or motivation toward success; teaming
Sumpter, M., & Follman, D., & Hutchison, M. (2006, June), What Affects Student Self Efficacy In An Honors First Year Engineering Course? Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/1039
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