Self-efficacy analysis of student learning in systems engineering
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Systems engineering (SE) competencies are defined based on the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) necessary for a systems engineer to perform tasks related to the discipline. Proficient systems engineers are expected to be able to integrate, apply, and be assessed on these KSAs as they develop competencies through their education and training, professional development, and on-the-job experience. The research conducted by the Naval Postgraduate School assessed where SE graduate students stood as far as developing the necessary competency levels they need to be successful systems engineers. A survey methodology was used to achieve this objective. Systems engineering students enrolled in SE courses at the Naval Postgraduate School represented the population surveyed. Survey items were written with the intent to capture self- efficacy for knowledge and skill sets as a subset of the overall set of competencies required for systems engineering, namely within the SE competencies of Critical Thinking, Systems Engineering, Teamwork and Project Management. A total of four surveys were administered to two SE cohorts. Results show that self-efficacy in systems engineering can be reasonably assumed to be positively affected by a graduate level educational program. The implications of the research can be used to develop structured curriculum content, assessment, and continuous process improvement techniques related to the development of SE learning, and to develop more valid and reliable instruments for assessing what systems engineers need to learn, need to know, and need to do.
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