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ERIC Number: EJ759825
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 28
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 49
ISSN: ISSN-0022-1546
A Social Cognitive Construct Validation: Determining Women's and Men's Success in Engineering Programs
Vogt, Christina M.; Hocevar, Dennis; Hagedorn, Linda Serra
Journal of Higher Education, v78 n3 p337-364 May-Jun 2007
To resolve the dispute amongst several studies, this research investigated whether the new generation of women engineering majors, who have been better academically prepared and presumably instilled with confidence, still experience lower levels of achievement than male engineering students. This study was framed under Bandura's (1986) triadic model of environment's effect on self and behavior variables. Specifically, this research was undertaken to determine if this model might shed light on students' academic progress in engineering programs by gender. The main research questions investigated which variables seemed to be responsible for females' performance in engineering programs as measured by GPA, and explored to what extent the findings for males might differ from those for females. The men and women surveyed were engineering students from several branches of engineering. The sample was comprised of students across four large, first-tier, West Coast research universities (N = 713, males = 409; females = 304). Survey results were subject to multiple statistical procedures in order to test the social cognitive constructs used in the model. The good news is that the gender gap in achievement appears to be closing, at least in the purposeful sample of women in prestigious West Coast engineering programs. Goodman Research Group's (2002) research found that while grades were not the only reason for attrition, they were a great predictor for "stayers" or "switchers" in engineering. Grades are reinforcing, and those students who are confident and efficacious are also those who are successful academically. Women in this study also reported greater application of academic self-regulation behaviors known to be associated with school achievement. Specifically, women exerted more effort in their engineering studies, and they were more likely to seek help if they needed it. Although there was not a gender difference in academic integration, this is a positive finding in that prior researchers have reported that women felt less academically integrated in nontraditional academic programs. This research also successfully confirmed Bandura's model in showing the effects of classroom environment on students' performance. (Contains 7 tables and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A