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Assessing changes in attitudes toward engineering and biomechanics resulting from a high school outreach event
Stephanie D. Teeter, Naji S. Husseini, Jacqueline H. Cole
National Biomechanics Day aims to introduce students to the emerging field of biomechanics and improve their perception of engineering and engineers. This quantitative study examines participants’ attitude changes following one such event. By prioritizing increasing excitement and engagement over teaching content, we anticipate that students’ opinions of engineering and biomechanics will improve following the event. Pre- and post-test surveys consisting of Likert scale and semantic differential (SD) items assessed changes in three key areas: self-identity as a scientist and engineer, attitudes toward engi- neering, and attitudes toward biomechanics. Based on unpaired and paired student responses, we found significant gains in all three areas. Students agreed more strongly with statements regarding whether they saw themselves as scientists and engineers, and they had improved attitudes toward engineering in general and biomechanics specifically. The SD scales also reflected improved opinions of both science and biomechanics. These more positive attitudes could eventually lead to more students recruited to study a variety of engineering disciplines, ultimately addressing the ongoing national shortage of quali- fied engineers.
Stephanie Teeter, MEd
NC State University, USA.
Fatemeh Malekipour, PhD
University of Melbourne, Australia.