Children's engineering-related achievement beliefs and career aspirations: The role of gender

Bobbi Woods, Cindy Miller, Lorey A. Wheeler, Martin Reisslein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the association between elementary students' (N = 1627; 51.3% girls, ages 4–12) engineering-related ability beliefs (competence), task-value beliefs (interest, importance), and career aspirations. Findings suggest that mean levels of children's engineering-related beliefs did not vary by gender. High levels of competence, interest, and importance beliefs were related to higher engineering-related career aspirations. Findings also revealed that the association of competence and interest with career aspirations was stronger for girls than boys; whereas, the association of importance with career aspirations was stronger for boys than girls. Last, results provide evidence of importance as a moderator of the link between competence and career aspirations, suggesting that there was a stronger positive association between competence and career aspirations under high levels of importance. Against the backdrop of the increasing urgency to teach engineering in elementary schools, this study highlighted the salience of examining children's engineering-related motivational beliefs. The study has practical implications for teachers and school psychologists on promoting inclusive instruction in elementary schools. Specifically, the implications of the results for instructional strategies as well as assessments and interventions in elementary schools are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychology in the Schools
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • elementary schools
  • engineering education
  • gender studies
  • motivation
  • structural equation modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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