STEM-oriented students perception of the relevance of physics
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© American Society for Engineering Education, 2018. We present initial findings from an ongoing project regarding the factors that influence secondary and high school students to pursue a professional engineering career. In this article, we offer data from the analysis of a questionnaire administered to high school students who participated in a STEM competition. The review of the information gathered with these students is particularly critical in our main project since these students have a strong orientation toward STEM. Students had a choice to participate in up to two subjects out of five available: physics, mathematics, biology, chemistry and computer science. We administered a science and technology questionnaire and 657 students out of 721 who participated in the competition responded. The survey included 13 questions in a Likert scale regarding self-efficacy and perception of the importance of the subjects presented. In the first section of the questionnaire, students responded to queries that assess physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics and computer science self-efficacy. In the second section of the survey, students answered questions that determine their perception of the importance of physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science on their current studies and their future professional career. This report contrasts self-efficacy and perception of the importance of physics between students who chose physics as the subject in their competition and those who chose a different STEM subject. The analysis presents the differences between students who are more exact science-oriented, i.e., mathematics and computer science, and those who are more natural science-oriented, i.e., chemistry and biology.