A comparison of single and mixed gender engineering enrichment programs for elementary students

Linda S. Hirsch, Suzanne Berliner Heyman, Rosa Cano, John Carpinelli, Howard Kimmel, Steven Romero

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

8 Scopus citations


The Center for Pre-College Programs at New Jersey Institute of Technology sponsors a series of summer enrichment programs designed to increase academically talented students' interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Programs such as these can be instrumental in informing young students about careers in engineering and technology and helping ensure they receive the academic background required to prepare for these careers in college. One of the programs has been designed specifically for young girls in an effort to increase the number of women interested in engineering and other technological careers. Although there is much debate about the relative effectiveness of female-only programs, previous research comparing aspects of our female-only program to equivalent mixed-gender programs has shown that they can be particularly effective in reaching young girls, influencing their perceptions of engineers and attitudes toward engineering as a career. The addition of equivalent male-only programs has prompted additional research comparing changes in students' perceptions of engineers and attitudes toward engineering, as well as increases in learning and content knowledge. The three different gender grouped programs (female-only, male-only and mixed-gender) were identical in content. The single gender programs within the same grade were taught by the same teacher. Although the mixed gender programs were taught by a different teacher the curriculum was exactly the same. In addition to objective measures of effectiveness, teachers were interviewed to collect qualitative data about the climate in the classroom and students' interactions within the three different gender groupings. Results show differential effects among the programs, not only in terms of perceptions, attitudes and learning, but also in the classroom climate and students' interactions in the classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2013 Frontiers in Education Conference
Subtitle of host publicationEnergizing the Future, FIE 2013 - Proceedings
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2013
Event43rd IEEE Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2013 - Oklahoma City, OK, United States
Duration: Oct 23 2013Oct 26 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Other43rd IEEE Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOklahoma City, OK

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


  • Engineering enrichment
  • Female only
  • Male only
  • STEM
  • Single gender education


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