High school students' attitudes to and knowledge about engineering

L.S. Hirsch, S.J. Gibbons, H. Kimmel, R. Rockland, J. Bloom
33rd Annual Frontiers in Education, 2003. FIE 2003.  
¾ Middle school is a critical time for young people to begin thinking about future careers. While many middle school students still long to be football players, actresses or rap singers, they are also beginning to consid er realistic options. In order to effectively explore all realistic options middle school students need to have accurate information about specific careers. The literature on recruitment into engineering careers suggests that students may not know about engineering careers,
more » ... eering careers, have few adults or peers discussing engineering with them, and therefore do not explore engineering as a career option or prepare for it academically in these crucial middle school years. Because the demand for engineers is expected t o increase both nationally and in New Jersey the Pre -Engineering Instructional and Outreach Program was established to enlarge the future pool of engineers. The program focuses on implementing pre -engineering curricula in middle and high schools and inform ing students, teachers, parents, and school counselors about the rewards of engineering careers. Along with increased enrollment in college engineering programs, successful outcomes include increased knowledge about engineering careers and more positive a ttitudes to engineering in middle and high school students. A survey to measure middle school students': 1) attitudes to mathematics, science and engineering, 2) knowledge about engineering and engineering careers, 3) recent academic performance and 4) wh o has talked to them about engineering as a career option has been adapted from a similar survey previously developed for high school students. The current paper describes the development of the middle school survey. The validity and reliability of the s urvey will be presented along with a summary of significant findings which include: students' overall attitudes to engineering, mathematics and science, their knowledge about engineering careers, and who has been talking to them about careers in engineerin g.
doi:10.1109/fie.2003.1264689 fatcat:lnagkhh5hzaz7oewasp2iru6by