Instrument to Measure the Entrepreneurial Mindset of Engineering Students
This work in progress describes the development of an instrument to measure the entrepreneurial mindset of engineering students.
The need for developing an entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students is being recognized by many universities. However, very few comprehensive, generalized and well-validated instruments are available for assessment purpose. Most research and educational efforts focus on the design and implementation of engineering entrepreneurship programs, but assessment practices have not kept up. There are several reasons for the shortfall in assessment practices: 1) Introducing engineering students to entrepreneurship is a relatively new trend and it will take time for the successes to be quantified and assessed; 2) There are inconsistencies across different engineering entrepreneurship programs; 3) The program can involve a single course, multiple courses, projects or experiential learning; 4) The concepts can be taught by engineering faculty, business faculty, practicing engineers, or a mix of these. These program differences lead to variations in assessment methods and instruments. Most importantly, there is lack of a clear, consistent and comprehensive definition of engineering entrepreneurship characteristics within the community.
Based on the framework established by the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), this paper describes the development of an assessment instrument to measure the entrepreneurial mindset of engineering students. An assessment instrument consisting of 37 questions was initially developed. An exploratory factor analysis of this pilot instrument resulted in a 29-item solution. Additional reliability analysis based on Cronbach’s α suggested further reduction of items with low internal consistency. Finally, a preliminary instrument with 27 items loaded on 9 or 10 factors measuring the entrepreneurial mindset was established.