A Multi Institutional Study Of Connection, Community And Engagement In Stem Education: Conceptual Model Development
2010 Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings
Student engagement, which positively correlates to academic performance, is mediated by various connections-to-community (CTC). To gain a better understanding of the intricacies of CTC, a detailed study has commenced. The study includes a diverse mix of institutions including the University of Washington, Minnesota State University, Tuskegee University, Seattle Pacific University and Simmons College. Evaluation of CTC in STEM fields at this diverse mix of institutions will provide insight into
... ovide insight into some of the complex factors that affect CTC such as faith and worldview, ethnicity, gender, academic communities of practice, social networks, faculty-student ratios, teaching quality, and others. CTC, as well as their mediators and confounding influences, are studied using a mixed methods approach that includes surveys, semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Qualitative methods, including ethnographic study, are used to understand the experiences of under-represented minorities at institutions where statistically significant sample sizes are not possible. This paper focuses on the conceptual framework that ties CTC to key outcomes and qualities of STEM education and the surveys used to measure many of the constructs in the conceptual framework. The survey items for many constructs have been validated in previous research efforts in K-12 education and higher education; however, experience has shown that use of these assessment tools in STEM education necessitates their modification, reliability reevaluation, and revalidation to maintain accurate assessment of research questions. From this study will come both a conceptual model for understanding the relationships between CTC and their mediating and confounding factors, and a restructured assessment tool that can be used in STEM education to evaluate many of the affective inputs and behavioral outputs that ultimately correlate to short, moderate, and long term academic outcomes.