Chosang Tendhar

Abstract

This study had three purposes and four hypotheses were tested. Three purposes: (1) To use hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) to investigate whether students’ perceptions of their engineering career intentions changed over time; (2) To use HLM to test the effects of gender, engineering identification (the degree to which an individual values a domain as an important part of the self), and engineering program expectancy (one’s belief in the possibility of his or her success in engineering) on the growth trajectory of students’ engineering career intentions; and (3) To introduce the uses of longitudinal design and growth curve analysis in engineering education research. Survey data was collected at four time points using measures that produce scores with known validity. Sample sizes at each time point were 470, 239, 129, and 115, respectively. We used SPSS 22.0 to perform descriptive statistics and reliability analyses, and HLM version 7.0 to analyze growth. Between their first and third years, undergraduate students’ perceived engineering career intentions neither grew nor declined significantly, with no significant difference between male and female students. Engineering identification significantly predicted individual differences when controlling for engineering program expectancy, whereas engineering program expectancy did not predict career intentions when controlling for engineering identification. These findings are possibly signs of overall stabilization of the declining trends in career intentions and reversal of women’s perceptions of commitment to engineering careers. The contributions and limitations of this study are also discussed.