How does I’m an Engineer affect students’ attitudes to engineering?

We know I’m an Engineer has a positive effect on students. Teachers tell us their classes “got fired up about engineering”, some students “chipped a nail typing to the engineers” and others admit they “didn’t even know that was a job, how cool!!”

Anecdotes are fine, but as evaluation geeks we want numbers too.

We asked students if they think engineers had an interesting job, and whether they’d like to work as engineers in the future, before and after taking part in I’m an Engineer. We gave them a choice of 5 options – from the very positive to the very negative, with a middle neutral one – to reply. 76 students filled in both the pre-event and post-event surveys.

Students have a good perception of engineering, and I’m an Engineer improves it

The majority of the students thought engineers had a “very” or “fairly interesting” job, and none of them thought it was “definitely not interesting” before taking part. This got even better after I’m an Engineer: the percentage of students who thought engineering jobs were “very interesting” went from 37% pre-event to 54% post event.

I’m an Engineer also helped students make up their minds: the 11% of students who “didn’t really know” if engineers had an interesting job before taking part plummeted to 1% after the activity.

Engineers interesting Job 3- student survey J14

My pupils were buzzing after the event, they really enjoyed it. They were even arguing about which engineer should win, so the engineers involved have made a huge impression on them.” – Jacqui Foord, teacher June 14

Students get inspired to become engineers.

The percentage of students who wanted to become engineers jumped from 35% to 47%, and the percentage of students who were sure they would like to be an engineer doubled after taking part. On the other hand, the percentage of students not interested in working as engineers decreased from 35% to 21% after I’m an Engineer.

would like to be eng 3 - student survey J14

I’ve done a follow up of giving them a week to “constructively daydream” and come up with an idea or invention – even if it would be impossible to produce it yet. I’m really impressed by their ideas – plus they’ve signed contracts giving me 10% of future income from their inventions. Dragons Den, here we come!!” – teacher, March 13

And there is yet more evaluation to come. We are looking into how taking part in I’m an Engineer changes students’ understanding of what engineering is, and what engineers do. We are gathering data about that just now, from students taking part in the June 2015 event. We will be back with more graphs and quotes soon!

Please leave a comment to say “hi” or ask for any clarification. The main purpose of this post is to share our learning and start a dialogue.

Posted on June 29, 2015 by in Evaluation, News. Comments Off on How does I’m an Engineer affect students’ attitudes to engineering?