Family, school, and community contexts each link to secondary school enrollment, yet these factors have been comparatively examined only in limited ways. A holistic examination of contextual factors will be particularly important for engineering where college enrollment patterns vary by demographics. To begin explaining patterns of engineering college-going at different high schools across the Commonwealth of Virginia, we answered the following research questions: Within a single school system and from a socializer’s perspective, what outcome expectations and environmental factors influence students’ engineering-related postsecondary educational plans? How are these factors the same and different between high schools within a school district? Using a single-case-study approach and in-depth interviews with socializers (teachers, administrators, and counselors), we examined similarities and differences in outcome expectations and environmental factors at three high schools within a single school district. By integrating the results regarding outcome expectations and environmental factors, three important findings emerged: (1) relationships between outcome expectations and environmental factors vary across schools within the same system, (2) proximity to a postsecondary institution is not just about physical distance, and (3) messaging regarding career pathways matters. Each of these has practical implications but can also set the foundation for future research.
Outcome Expectations and Environmental Factors Associated with Engineering College-Going: A Case Study.
Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER), 10(1), Article 5.