Saturday, February 18, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Remy Dou, Florida International University, Miami, FL
The proliferation of student-centered curricula in undergraduate introductory STEM courses follows from research and policy that affirms their vantage over traditional pedagogies with regard to students’ academic outcomes. In the physics domain, of the variety of reformed undergraduate introductory courses that exist, Modeling Instruction (MI) serves as an example of a student-centered curriculum grounded in a sociocultural framework, and has been shown to improve student attitudes and conceptual understanding. Student interactions play a salient role in the MI classroom. Their impact on the central constructs of preeminent career theories like the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) and the identity framework has not been thoroughly explored. Here we describe a study of the change in students’ physics self-efficacy and physics interest, and the effect that academic relationships have on their development. Our examination of three large capacity MI courses that took place in the fall of 2014 and fall of 2015 (N = 221) revealed a decrease in both students’ physics self-efficacy and interest with small to medium effect sizes. Using the tools of network analysis to quantify student interaction, we tested three structural equation models, which showed that student interactions as measured by PageRank centrality have small, but positive contributions to self-efficacy development, but none to interest development. Surprisingly, we also found that participants’ physics interest predicted the development of their physics self-efficacy and not the other way around, as suggested by the SCCT and identity framework. This work has implications on how active learning settings shape affective constructs related to career decision-making, and suggests more nuanced applications of the SCCT and identity framework in the context of reformed STEM curricula.