High School Technical Team Participation and Success in Undergraduate Engineering
The dissertation examines the impact that participation on a high school technical team has on students’ abilities to succeed in an undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree program. The central question of the study involved understanding if participation on a high school technical team affected the ability of students to persist and succeed during the first year of undergraduate engineering and also to graduate successfully with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. The study hypothesized that undergraduate engineering students who were members of an extracurricular technical teams in high school were more likely to succeed and persist in undergraduate engineering education than students who were not members of such technical teams. To test the central study hypothesis, technical team participants (leaders and non-leaders) and non-technical team participants’ relative levels of self-efficacy, grade point averages, confidence in a range of engineering-related abilities, and engineering-specific social capital resources were measured. Dependent variables included eleven confidence factors, a self-efficacy scale, cumulative grade point average of engineering students after their first and fourth years of engineering, and eleven social capital variables. Independent variables included self-reported high school technical team experience, self-reported high school technical team leadership experience, engineering admissions committee–identified high school technical team experience, and engineering admissions–identified high school technical team leadership experience. Control variables included gender, under-represented minority/majority status, and socio-economic status. Data were collected via paper-and-pencil surveys, online electronic surveys, institutional archives, interviews, and observations. The dissertation found that participation and leadership on a high school technical team has a statistically significant impact on several confidence factors relative to engineering. The results varied by gender and ethnicity. Likewise, participation on a high school technical team affects students’ levels of self-efficacy and engineering social capital resources.
Self efficacy; Social capital; Teamwork; Science education; Social structure; Engineering
Sipple, John W.
Gries, David; Constas, Mark Alexander
PHD of Education
Doctor of Philosophy
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
dissertation or thesis
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