High School Graphics Experience Influencing the Self-Efficacy of First-Year Engineering Students in an Introductory Engineering Graphics Course
Today's students enter engineering colleges with different technical backgrounds and prior graphics experience. This may due to their high school of provenience, which can be technical or non-technical. The prior experience affects students’ ability in learning and hence their motivation and self-efficacy beliefs. This study intended to evaluate the role of prior high school graphics experience in first-year engineering students' self-efficacy beliefs in an introductory engineering graphics course. It also intended to evaluate the relationship between such freshmen's self-efficacy beliefs and their performance. Two assessment instruments were used in this study. The first is the eight-item Course Interest Survey (CIS) Confidence subscale, which was used to assess self-efficacy beliefs. The second is a multiple choice questionnaire designed on the course topics, which was used to assess performance. Ninety-nine students of the University of Brescia (Italy) participated in the experiment. Significant differences in self-efficacy were found between engineering freshmen from the technical high school versus engineering freshmen from the non-technical high school. A significant relationship between self-efficacy and performance was found only for engineering freshmen from the technical high school.