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Student Motivation and Interests as Proxies for Forming STEM Identities

  • Campbell, Todd (Utah State University) ;
  • Lee, Hyon-Yong (Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Kwon, Hyuk-Soo (Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Park, Kyung-Suk (Kyungpook National University)
  • Received : 2012.03.19
  • Accepted : 2012.04.10
  • Published : 2012.06.30

Abstract

This research investigated the motivation and interests of a sample of predominately-underrepresented populations to better understand whether informal STEM learning experiences offer support for developing STEM identities. A valid and reliable three-section self-reporting survey was administered to 169 secondary students as the primary data source. Identity was used as a theoretical lens along with descriptive statistics to reveal students' perceived benefits of the informal STEM learning experience, a Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program in the western U.S., for improving their understanding of science, mathematics, and engineering concepts, increasing their interest in science, mathematics, and engineering careers, and increasing their belief of the importance of these STEM disciplines. In summary, the findings emerging, considered alongside current identity research, suggest that informal STEM learning experiences offer students from underrepresented STEM populations the space needed for successful STEM identity bids, either for future career pursuits or participation in a STEM literate populace as a non-STEM professional societal member.

Keywords

STEM education;Informal STEM learning;MESA;Motivation;Interest;STEM identity

Acknowledgement

Supported by : Kyungpook National University

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