An Instrument for Examining Elementary Engineering Student Interests and Attitudes

Cathy Pauline Lachapelle, Robert T Brennan
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Abstract


Engineers and policymakers have expressed concern that too few students enter the engineering pipeline. This has led to many efforts to engage students in engineering in after-school programs, summer programs, and more recently, in school curricula. The expectation is that, through these efforts, greater numbers of more demographically diverse children will become aware of engineering as a possible career option, and some will decide to pursue it, thereby increasing and diversifying the population pursuing engineering careers. This expectation makes the assumption that students will become more interested in and form more positive attitudes towards engineering as they encounter it in formal and informal settings. To measure this assumption, we have developed an Engineering Interest and Attitudes (EIA) survey, drawing from earlier surveys used to measure student interest in and attitudes toward science. We show that the subscales developed from EFA and CFA are reliable, and considerable evidence is present for the validity of use of EIA for measuring young students’ engineering interests and attitudes. We also present evidence that EIA can be used by researchers and curriculum developers with students ages 8-11 to measure change in student interests and attitudes towards the goal of evaluating engineering activities, programs, and curricula.


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References


Lachapelle, C.P. & Brennan, R.T. (2018). An instrument for examining elementary engineering student interests and attitudes. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology (IJEMST), 6(3), 221-240. DOI: 10.18404/ijemst.428171


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