What Matters to My Future: STEM Int-her-est and Expectations Conference Paper uri icon


  • 2018 IEEE. This paper investigates the effect Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Problem-Based Learning (PBL) activities have on single-sex classes and how these experiences affect students' attitudes toward STEM careers. To close the gap of underrepresentation of females in STEM, research suggests single-gender classes should be implemented. Single-gender classes have shown to improve female interest in STEM fields. A quasi-experimental study was conducted to assess female and male interest and attitudes toward STEM fields and careers. There were 97 participants in 7th through 12th grade who attended a one-week STEM Camp. Of those, 50 females participated in an all-female option, 23 males participated in an all-male option, and 25 campers participated in a co-ed option. Participants completed a survey using a Likert scale to rate their perceptions of STEM. The results were contrary to previous research indicating that both single-gender classes had lower affect toward engineering than the mixed gender group. Females in the mixed group rated their attitudes and interest toward STEM fields and careers statistically significantly higher than the females in the all-female group in three of the four constructs (knowledge, importance, and career). The findings support the inclusion of STEM PBL in classrooms because there were no significant differences between the class type after participating in a one-week STEM camp. Through the use of STEM PBLs, females' interest in STEM careers is equal to male interest.

name of conference

  • 2018 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Vela, K. N., Bicer, A., Capraro, R. M., Barroso, L. R., & Caldwell, C.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Vela, Katherine N||Bicer, Ali||Capraro, Robert M||Barroso, Luciana R||Caldwell, Cassidy

publication date

  • January 2018