A New Scale for Measuring Engineering Identity in Undergraduates




Borrego, Maura
Patrick, Anita
Martins, Luis
Kendall, Meagan

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American Society for Engineering Education


Identity, or how people choose to define themselves, is gaining traction as an explanation for who pursues and persists in engineering. A number of quantitative studies have developed scales for predicting engineering identity in undergraduate students. However, the outcome measure of identity is sometimes based on a single item. In this paper, we present the results of a new two-item scale. The scale is adapted from an existing measure of identification with an organization that was developed by Bergami and Bagozzi [1] and refined by Bartel [2]. The measure focuses on the “cognitive (i.e., self-categorization) component of identification” (p. 556), and has been found to have high convergent validity with another, rigorous measure of identification with an organization or other entity created by Mael and Ashforth [3]. This measure utilizes one primarily visual and one verbal item to assess the extent to which an individual cognitively categorizes himself or herself as an engineer. The scale was administered to 1528 engineering undergraduate students during the 2016-2017 academic year. Internal consistency of the new engineering identity scale, as measured by Cronbach’s alpha, is 0.84. This new scale is an important step toward refining quantitative measures of, and the study of, engineering identity development in undergraduate students and other populations.


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Borrego, M. , Patrick, A., Martins, L., & Kendall, M. (2018, April), A New Scale for Measuring Engineering Identity in Undergraduates. Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Gulf-Southwest Section Annual Conference, Austin, TX.