2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity

Toward a Measurement of Co-Curricular Support: Insights from an Exploratory Factor Analysis

Presented at Track : Collegiate - Technical Session 7

The purpose of this work-in-progress paper is to share insights from current efforts to develop and test the validity of an instrument to measure undergraduate students’ perceived support in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The development and refinement of our survey instrument ultimately functions to extend, operationalize, and empirically test the Model of Co-curricular Support (MCCS). The MCCS is a conceptual framework of student support that demonstrates the breadth of assistance currently used to support undergraduate students in STEM, particularly those from underrepresented groups. We are currently gathering validity evidence for an instrument that evaluates the extent to which colleges of engineering and science offer supportive environments. To date, exploratory factor analysis and correlation for construct validity have helped us develop 14 constructs for student support in STEM. Future work will focus on modeling relationships between these constructs and student outcomes, providing the explanatory power needed to explain empirically how co-curricular supports contribute to different forms of student success in STEM. We hope that operationalizing the MCCS through this survey will shift how we conceptualize and offer student support, enabling college administrators and student support practitioners to evaluate their portfolio of student support efforts.

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