An Examination of Middle School Students' STEM Self-Efficacy, Interests and Perceptions

  • Patrick L. Brown
  • James P. Concannon
  • Donna Marx
  • Chris Donaldson
  • Alicia Black
Keywords: STEM, Middle School, Self-Efficacy


Over the last two decades, science education reform efforts have focused on helping students acquire a deeper conceptual understanding of scientific ideas, scientific thinking, and improved scientific problem solving, instead of simply memorizing facts and formulas. However, the number of individuals entering science related fields has drastically decreased since the 1970’s and the projected number of qualified candidates is concerning due to national workforce trends based on attrition and retirement rates. The purpose of this teacher research study is to ascertain students’ interest in STEM and beliefs about STEM. Our primary data sources include a modified attitudinal survey and modified perceptions of collaboration survey. We found differences in gender and students’ group roles to be related to self-efficacy, intentions to persist in STEM, perceptions of STEM and interests in STEM. Research on students’ self-efficacy and perceptions of group work has the potential to restructure how teachers design activities and teach students about collaboration.