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South African Journal of Education

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The investigation of STEM Self-Efficacy and Professional Commitment to Engineering among female high school students

Y Liu, S Lou, R Shih

Abstract


This study employed social cognitive theory and social cognitive career theory (SCCT) as foundations to explore the influence of high school  students’ beliefs about female gender roles and female engineer role models on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
self-efficacy and professional commitment to engineering. A total of 88 students from a national girls’ high school participated in STEM  project-based learning. A survey questionnaire named The STEM  Self-efficacy and Professional Commitment to Engineering Questionnaire, developed by the researchers, was administered to collect data, and a structured equation model was employed to confirm the multi-theoretical model developed in this study. The results of this study show that  enhancing the gender role beliefs and engineer role models of female students may increase their STEM self-efficacy and professional  commitment to engineering. In other words, the female high school  students’ professional commitment to engineering model can explain  students’ intentions for future engineering careers. Thus, this study  suggests integrating STEM project-based learning into the curricula of various schools and integrating female engineer role models into STEM project-based learning activities for female students, which can enhance female high school students’ STEM self-efficacy and professional  commitment to engineering.

Keywords: female engineer role model; female gender role beliefs;  professional commitment to engineering; STEM project-based learning; STEM self-efficacy




http://dx.doi.org/10.15700/201412071216
AJOL African Journals Online