A current challenge in the United States is to increase African American pursuit of engineering careers. Minority students generally tend to be under-represented in such careers, as indicated by the National Academy of Engineering, in The Engineer of 2020-Visions of Engineering in the New Century. This study explores the career decision self-efficacy (Lent, Brown & Hackett, 1993) and Engineering related goal intentions of African American high school students. There are a variety of reasons explaining the lack of choice of engineering as a career, and these were investigated. This study assessed the effect of specific influences (ethnic identity, demographic factors, ability, school factors, Math/Science confidence, Math/Science self-efficacy, Math/Science interest, and family support) on career decision self-efficacy and engineering related goal-intentions. Data from a survey of 396 African American students’ grades 9-12, low-middle income level, in a southeastern school were used in the study. Results show that career decision self-efficacy among students studied is influenced by: Math/science confidence, ethnic identity, family relations, school factors, and socioeconomic status. Factors influencing engineering related goal intentions were very similar but each variable did not contribute the same amount of variance. Results also show that gender was not significant in either dependent variable. Other implications and recommendations relating to the variables are presented.
Austin, C. (2009). Factors influencing African-American high school students in career decision self-efficacy and engineering-related goal intentions. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Minnesota.