Seung Youn (Yonnie) Chyung Donald J. Winiecki Gary Hunt Carol M. Sevier

Abstract

Team projects are increasingly used in engineering courses. Students may develop attitudes toward team projects from prior experience, and their attitudinal responses could influence their performance during team project-based learning in the future. Thus, instructors need to measure students’ attitudes toward team projects during their learner analysis to better understand students’ characteristics and be proactive in providing effective strategies to help students succeed in a team project environment. The purpose of our study was to develop a survey instrument that measures students’ attitudes toward team projects to be used as a learner analysis tool, derived from our local practical needs and due to the lack of appropriate existing instruments. The study was conducted at a mid-sized university in the northwestern United States during 2015-2016. After we generated an initial pool of 50 items, we administered the survey to 225 undergraduate engineering students, performed exploratory factor analysis on the data, and arrived at a four-factor solution of 20 items and a three-factor solution of 14 items. We tested the two competing solutions with another set of 330 undergraduate engineering students. Based on our confirmatory factor analysis results, we arrived at a three-factor model of 12 items as the finalized scale, which measures: (a) professional capacity building, (b) learning and problem-solving skills development, and (c) workload challenges. We call the scale, the Attitudes toward Team Projects Scale on Capacity, Learning, and Workload (ATPS-CLW). Suggestions for future research include continuous development, testing, and validation of the scale.