Perceived instrumentality and career aspirations in CS1 courses: Change and relationships with achievement

Markeya S. Peteranetz, Abraham E. Flanigan, Duane F. Shell, Leen Kiat Soh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

We explored CS1 students' perceived instrumentality (PI) for the course and aspirations for a career related to CS. Perceived in-strumentality refers to the connection one sees between a current activity and a future goal. There are two types of PI: endogenous and exogenous. Endogenous instrumentality refers to the perception that mastering new information or skills is important for achieving distal goals. Exogenous instrumentality refers to the perception that obtaining an external reward (such as a grade) is essential for obtaining future goals. We investigated (1) how students' PI and career aspirations changed over the course of a semester, (2) how these changes differed as a function of course enrollment and major (CS or not), (3) the relationship between PI and career aspirations, and (4) whether PI and career aspirations predicted academic achievement. Overall and for most subgroups, exogenous instrumentality increased significantly and endogenous instrumentality decreased significantly across the semester, though the degree of change varied among some subgroups. Career aspirations decreased overall and for most subgroups, but CS majors showed a much smaller decrease than non-majors, and students in a CS/business honors course showed an overall increase in career aspirations. Finally, students' achievement out-comes were predicted by their PI and career aspirations. These findings contribute to the literature on motivation in CS1 courses and points to PI as a promising avenue for influencing student motivation. Implications for student motivation and retention in CS and other STEM courses are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationICER 2016 - Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages13-21
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781450344494
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 25 2016
Event12th Annual International Computing Education Research Conference, ICER 2016 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: Sep 8 2016Sep 12 2016

Publication series

NameICER 2016 - Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research

Other

Other12th Annual International Computing Education Research Conference, ICER 2016
CountryAustralia
CityMelbourne
Period9/8/169/12/16

Keywords

  • CS1
  • Career aspirations
  • Perceived instrumentality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Software
  • Education

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  • Cite this

    Peteranetz, M. S., Flanigan, A. E., Shell, D. F., & Soh, L. K. (2016). Perceived instrumentality and career aspirations in CS1 courses: Change and relationships with achievement. In ICER 2016 - Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research (pp. 13-21). (ICER 2016 - Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/2960310.2960320