Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher.
Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?
Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.
https://peer.asee.org/28248 The research draws from a larger study conducted at four large public universities examining the non-normative attitudes of first-year engineering students and how these attitudes might affect their collegiate experience and the development of their engineering identity. Within the survey demographics section, students were asked to report their gender with as many options as they felt appropriate to describe themselves. Students were given the option to respond “male,” “female,” “cisgender,” “transgender,” “agender,” “genderqueer,” and/or “a gender not listed.” Of the students surveyed, 2,697 identified themselves as male or female. Of this population, 55 students additionally identified themselves as cisgender. A Welch’s t-test revealed that factors relating to engineering identity were significantly different between cisgender students who self-identified and those who did not. Self-identified cisgender students possessed higher scores on factors measuring components of engineering identity, such as Physics Performance/Competence beliefs (p = 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.412). These students were also rated as higher on Openness from the “Big 5” personality measures (p = 0.006, Cohen’s d = 0.403), and scored significantly lower on Conscientiousness from the “Big 5” personality measures (p = 0.028, Cohen’s d = 0.343). These data highlight the differences between cisgender identified and non-identified students. Higher Openness results indicate that cisgender students are significantly more attentive of individuals’ inner feelings and may seek out more variety in their experiences than their non-cis-identified peers. Lower Conscientiousness scores reveal that cisgender students, on average, are less likely to conform to traditional cultural norms. Additionally, stronger scores relating to engineering identity indicate that cisgender-identified students feel that they belong in engineering. Together, these findings suggest that cisgender students possess traits and attitudes that could position them as ambassadors to or changemakers within engineering culture. Future research will work to understand these differences qualitatively to inform ways in which these individuals may serve as allies or “bridgers” for individuals within engineering who do not conform to gender and sexual orientation binaries.more » « less
https://peer.asee.org/28741 Previous studies quantitatively and qualitatively measured and validated the constructs that make up math identity, physics identity and engineering identity (i.e., interest in the subject, recognition by others, and beliefs about one’s performance/competence) for predicting engineering choice. To answer the first research question, a Welch’s t-test was used to compare the averages of first-generation college students and non-first-generation college students on overall measures of mathematics, physics, and engineering identity as well as the constructs of interest, recognition, and performance/competence in each subject area. This t-test was selected because it corrects unequal variance within the two populations. To answer the second research question, we used multiple linear regression to predict the choices of STEM and non-stem majors using measures of identity, affective factors, and first-generation college student status. Results from the first analysis demonstrate that first-generation college students entered engineering with a high sense of engineering identity, particularly in the performance/competence and interest constructs. Regression results showed that first-generation college students’ physics identity positively predicted choice of a non-STEM career; that is, first-generation college students with high physics identity were more interested in non-STEM careers (e.g., non-profit/non-government organization and medicine/health). This work highlights that first-generation college students may have different career pathway intentions and motivations in studying engineering during college.more » « less
https://peer.asee.org/27950 This paper presents results of work completed on our project, Intersectionality of Non-normative Identities in the Cultures of Engineering (InIce). The overarching focus of this project is on how students who hold non-normative identities position themselves, grow through their education, and navigate the cultures of engineering they experience in college. Our goal is to investigate ways to engage students who hold non-normative identities to become more active and lifelong participants in engineering disciplines. Our work is proceeding in three phases: 1) Identify, through a quantitative instrument, the attitudinal profiles of normative and non-normative students in engineering; 2) Characterize students’ normative and non-normative identities through in-depth interviews and analysis of differences between students with normative and non-normative identities in engineering; and 3) Drawing from our findings, develop a workshop and set of courses to incorporate diversity topics into engineering programs to enhance the culture of engineering to be more responsive towards, and inclusive of, a diverse range of student identities. We have completed the first phase of the project in which we quantitatively measured and characterized student groups with normative and non-normative identities in engineering. Our definitions of normative and non-normative for this project are developed through Topological Data Analysis (TDA) of a set of multi-institution survey data (n = 2916). TDA allows identification of groups without imposing a priori hypotheses on how the attitudes of students may group together (nor how they may distinguish between demographic groups). This approach allows the underlying structure of the data to emerge rather than imposing pre-defined definitions of normative attitudes or identities. Our TDA results revealed one group that contains a relatively large number of students (the “normative” group) and a total of seven other distinct, but relatively populated, groups (the “non-normative” groups). We have compiled a summary of the most salient attitudinal constructs in terms of characterizing and distinguishing between all these groups including: motivation (value, goal orientation, future time perspective), engineering and physics identities (performance/competence and recognition beliefs for each), personality traits (neuroticism, extraversion, belongingness) and grit (consistency of interest). We are currently in Phase 2 of our study in which we are conducting a series of qualitative, longitudinal interviews with students selected from normative and non-normative groups to understand how they navigate their engineering experiences and define their educational trajectories over the first two years of college. This data will be deductively analyzed based on our existing attitudinal frameworks as well as inductively coded for emerging themes on how students feel belongingness within engineering culture. This project promises to move traditional measures of demographic data beyond socially constructed perceptions of others and allows for the representation of student diversity from the perspective of each participant. This more accurate reflection of diversity provides novel insight into the experiences of students who might otherwise be ignored or unjustifiably lumped in with other students with whom they share some demographic indicator and how residing at the intersection of multiple measures of diversity can influence students’ experiences in engineering culture.more » « less
Traditionally, engineering culture has limited rather than fostered diversity in engineering. To address this persistent issue, we examine how diverse students identify with engineering and navigate the culture of engineering. We define diversity not by making a priori categorizations according to traditional demographic information (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.), but instead by investigating the variation in students’ attitudinal profiles on a host of affective measures. Using these measures, we develop an identification of large, “normative” groups of engineers as well as “non-normative” students who emerge as having distinct attitudinal profiles. This mixed methods study investigates the intersectionality of engineering students' personal identities to understand: How do non-normative groups in engineering form an engineering identity and navigate a culture dominated by limited diversity? The focus of this paper is on the first phase this project, in which students' identities, motivation, psychological traits, perceived supports and barriers to engineering, and other background information is being quantitatively assessed. Pilot survey data were collected from participants enrolled in second semester first-year engineering programs across three institutions (n=374). We used topological data analysis (TDA) to create normative and non-normative attitudinal profiles of respondents. As a relatively new and powerful set of analytic methods, TDA clusters variegated data to understand an underlying structure, or topology, which emerges from the data. Our preliminary results show definite patterns which we then break down according to students' self-identified demographics. Additionally, a subset of participants who completed our quantitative instrument were interviewed about their experiences in and identification with engineering (n=7). Initial qualitative data analysis indicate that students who reside at intersectional boundaries of diversity have difficulty finding similar role models in engineering and often find themselves expending additional effort when compared to their peers to establish themselves in both engineering and non-engineering communities. Results of this quantitative and qualitative work were used to further refine the quantitative instrument that is to be used in subsequent phases of the project.more » « less
Measures of subject-related role identities in physics and math have been developed from research on the underlying constructs of identity in science education. The items for these measures capture three constructs of identity: students’ interest in the subject, students’ feeling of recognition by others, and students’ beliefs about their performance/competence in the subject area. In prior studies with late secondary and early post-secondary students, participants did not distinguish between performance beliefs (e.g., believing that they can do well in a particular subject) and competence beliefs (e.g., believing that they can understand a particular subject); therefore, performance/competence beliefs are measured as a single construct. These validated measures have been successful in predicting STEM career choices including physics, math, and engineering. Based on these measures of identity, literature on engineering identity, and my prior work on understanding engineering choice and belongingness through students’ science and math identities at the transition from high school to college, I developed a set of new engineering identity measures that capture and overall identification as an engineer, future engineering career identification, and students’ engineering-related interest, recognition, and performance/competence beliefs. I conducted a pilot survey of 371 first-year engineering students at three institutions within the U.S. during the spring semester of 2015. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was performed to examine the underlying structure of the piloted questions about students’ engineering identity. The measures loaded on three separate constructs that were consistent with the hypothesized constructs of interest, performance/competence and recognition. The developed items were used in a subsequent study deployed in the fall semester of 2015 that measured more than 2500 first-year engineering students’ attitudes and beliefs at four institutions within the U.S. The data on engineering identity measures from this second survey were analyzed using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). The results indicated that the developed measures do extract a significant portion of the average variance in the latent constructs and the internal consistency of the measures (Cronbach’s α) falls within the acceptable and better range. The development of these items provides ways for engineering education researchers to more deeply explore the underlying self-beliefs in students’ engineering identity formation through quantitative measures with strong evidence for validity.more » « less