Investigating the relationship between VEX robotics and student self-efficacy: an initial look

Gary A. Stewardson, Trevor P. Robinson, Joseph S. Furse, Michael Pate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Millions of dollars and countless hours of effort have been invested by school leaders and other stakeholders worldwide seeking to increase students’ enthusiasm toward science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through educational robotics competitions. The largest of these competitions is the VEX Robotics Competition (VRC). Little research has been done on the relationship between participation in robotics competitions and educational impacts for participants. This paper presents an initial look at whether participation in VRCs is related to student self-efficacy and educational choices. Three research phases have been achieved toward this end. Phase 1 was to identify tasks necessary for students to successfully compete in VRCs. The researchers conducted an Occupational Task Analysis to identify these tasks. Phase 2 was the development of an instrument to measure student self-efficacy, utilizing task statements identified in Phase 1. An initial survey instrument was developed and piloted, and factor analysis was used to ensure high construct validity in the final self-efficacy instrument. The final instrument showed very high reliability for an instrument measuring the affective domain. The third and final phase was to collect initial data to explore the relationship between VRC participation and self-efficacy, and to determine what factors may be important for continuing investigation. The results obtained in Phase 3 supported further investigation of several important variables and appeared to show a correlation between longer VRC participation and improved selfefficacy. The researchers plan to continue collecting data and investigating VRC participants’ self-efficacy and its relationship to students’ educational choices and postsecondary success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-896
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Technology and Design Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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