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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 13, 2024
  2. Abstract Background

    Makerspaces have increased in popularity recently and hold many promises for STEM education. However, they may also fall prey to hegemonic, marginalizing norms and ultimately narrow the definition of making and exclude who counts as makers. Explicitly focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion when examining makerspaces is of utmost urgency and importance for STEM education researchers; one way to foreground equity is through theoretical frameworks that critically examine the structure, environment, participation, and pedagogy within STEM makerspaces.


    Thus, we investigate the following: (1) what are the theoretical frameworks applied and (2) how, if at all, is equity addressed in research exploring STEM makerspaces? In synthesizing prior work, we aim to provide recommendations for using theoretical frameworks in supporting inclusivity in STEM makerspaces.


    We conducted a systematic review of articles that examine a STEM makerspace, apply a theoretical framework, and consider diversity, equity, and/or inclusion. We identifiedn = 34 relevant studies and coded each for basic characteristics.


    We highlight 10 exemplars that use critical theoretical frameworks as a way to foreground equity in the research design. The authors of these exemplar studies are reflective throughout their research processes and position themselves as learning in tandem with their participants. Further, they take active steps to transfer agency and power to their participants, and in doing so, lift forms of knowing not widely valued in STEM spaces.


    We conclude with recommendations for educators, makerspace staff, and researchers relevant to expanding dominant conceptions of what counts as making and thereby, supporting inclusivity in STEM makerspaces.

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  3. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Background Students’ attitudinal beliefs related to how they see themselves in STEM have been a focal point of recent research, given their well-documented links to retention and persistence. These beliefs are most often assessed cross-sectionally, and as such, we lack a thorough understanding of how they may fluctuate over time. Using matched survey responses from undergraduate engineering students ( n = 278), we evaluate if, and to what extent, students’ engineering attitudinal beliefs (attainment value, utility value, self-efficacy, interest, and identity) change over a 1-year period. Further, we examine whether there are differences based on gender and student division, and then compare results between cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses to illustrate weaknesses in our current understanding of these constructs. Results Our study revealed inconsistencies between cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of the same dataset. Cross-sectional analyses indicated a significant difference by student division for engineering utility value and engineering interest, but no significant differences by gender for any variable. However, longitudinal analyses revealed statistically significant decreases in engineering utility value, engineering self-efficacy, and engineering interest for lower division students and significant decreases in engineering attainment value for upper division students over a one-year period. Further, longitudinal analyses revealed a gender gap in engineering self-efficacy for upper division students, where men reported higher means than women. Conclusions Our analyses make several contributions. First, we explore attitudinal differences by student division not previously documented. Second, by comparing across methodologies, we illustrate that different conclusions can be drawn from the same data. Since the literature around these variables is largely cross-sectional, our understanding of students’ engineering attitudes is limited. Our longitudinal analyses show variation in engineering attitudinal beliefs that are obscured when data is only examined cross-sectionally. These analyses revealed an overall downward trend within students for all beliefs that changed significantly—losses which may foreshadow attrition out of engineering. These findings provide an opportunity to introduce targeted interventions to build engineering utility value, engineering self-efficacy, and engineering interest for student groups whose means were lower than average. 
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  4. Abstract Background

    Retaining women and racially minoritized individuals in engineering programs has been a subject of widespread discussion and investigation. While the sense of belonging and its link to retention have been studied based on student characteristics, there is an absence of studies investigating the importance of students' social identities to their sense of belonging in engineering.


    This study examines differences in race/ethnic identity centrality, gender identity centrality, and sense of belonging in engineering by subgroups of undergraduate engineering students at Hispanic‐Serving Institutions (HSIs). Subsequently, it examines the extent to which these identity centralities predict a sense of belonging in engineering for each subgroup.


    Survey data was collected from 903 Latinx and 452 White undergraduate engineering students from seven HSIs across the continental United States. Multivariate analysis of variance and sequential multivariate linear regression were used to evaluate the research questions.


    Latinx students had higher identity centralities but a similar sense of belonging in the engineering community as White students. Latinos and Latinas had an equivalent sense of belonging in engineering, whereas White women were higher than White men. In the full models, race/ethnic identity centrality significantly, and positively predicted a sense of belonging in engineering for Latinos and White women. Gender identity centrality was not a significant predictor of a sense of belonging in engineering for either Latinx or White students.


    Race/ethnic and gender identity centrality are differentially important to the sense of belonging in engineering for students at Hispanic‐Serving Institutions based on their group membership at the intersection of race and gender.

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  5. null (Ed.)
  6. Active learning increases student learning, engagement, and interest in STEM and subsequently, the number and diversity of graduates. Yet, its adoption has been slow, partially due to instructors’ concerns about student resistance. Consequently, researchers proposed explanation and facilitation instructional strategies designed to reduce this resistance. Using surveys from 2-year and 4-year institutions including minority-serving institutions, we investigate the relationship between students’ affective and behavioral responses to active learning, instructors’ use of strategies, and active learning type. Analyses revealed low levels of student resistance and significant relationships between both explanation and facilitation strategy use and positive student responses. 
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  7. null (Ed.)