Recognizing engineering students' funds of knowledge: Creating and validating survey measures

Dina Verdín, Jessica Mary Smith, Juan C. Lucena

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This research base paper examines students who are the first in their families to attend college. Our research seeks to understand the role students' funds of knowledge makes in first-generation college students' undergraduate experience. Funds of knowledge are the set of formal/informal knowledge and skills that students learn through family, friends, and communities outside of academic institutions. This paper reports funds of knowledge themes relevant to first-generation college students in engineering and the process of gathering validity evidence to support the funds of knowledge themes. Using ethnographic and interview data, six themes emerged: connecting experiences, community networks, tinkering knowledge, perspective taking, reading people, and mediational skills. Pilot data collected at two institutions were used to run exploratory factor analysis to verify the underlying theoretical structures among the themes. Results of the exploratory factor analysis found that almost all items reliably loaded onto their respective constructs. The funds of knowledge identified in this study are not an exhaustive account, nevertheless uncovering these hidden assets can support first-generation college students to see their experiences as equally valuable knowledge in engineering. We are currently in an ongoing process of collecting a second dataset to perform a confirmatory factor analysis, i.e., the next phase of the validation process for survey instrument development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event126th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Charged Up for the Next 125 Years, ASEE 2019 - Tampa, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2019Jun 19 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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