Tinkering and Technical Self-Efficacy of Engineering Students at the Community College

Dale R. Baker, Lorelei Wood, James Corkins, Stephen Krause

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Self-efficacy in engineering is important because individuals with low self-efficacy have lower levels of achievement and persistence in engineering majors. To examine self-efficacy among community college engineering students, an instrument to specifically measure two important aspects of engineering, tinkering and technical self-efficacy, was given to 94 students. Items on the instrument measured students’ self-perception of abilities in engineering. These items were identified by members of the American Association of Engineering Education as critical to success in engineering. The items included such statements as “I can think outside the box” (Tinkering Scale), and “I can communicate ideas and concepts to others” (Technical Scale). Out of a possible 120 points, the mean score for the Technical Scale was 86.8 and 91.9 for the Tinkering Scale. Low self-efficacy was reported for items on the Tinkering Scale in trouble shooting and generating solutions to problems as well as understanding mechanisms and technical drawings. Low self-efficacy was reported for items on the Technical Scale in mathematical calculations, statistical modeling, and several areas of technical knowledge. On the Technical Scale, high self-efficacy was reported for items describing written and oral communication skills, logical and practical thinking, and tool use. High self-efficacy on the Tinkering Scale was reported for items describing persistence, curiosity about how things work, thinking outside the box and imagination, working well and building with hands, and a sense of how things work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-567
Number of pages13
JournalCommunity College Journal of Research and Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 3 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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