LAESE - Longitudinal Assessment of Engineering Self-Efficacy
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Online SurveyMonkey versions of the surveys are available for export to your account. To find out more contact AWE.

LAESE - Longitudinal Assessment of Engineering Self-Efficacy
Description | What does the instrument measure? | Sample Survey Items | Can the instrument be modified? | When is it best to administer the instrument? | IRB approval | Using the Results | LAESE Subscale Key | Online Versions

Downloads: LAESE - Undergraduate Version | LAESE - High School Version | Instrument Instructions


LAESE is designed to identify longitudinal changes in the self-efficacy of undergraduate students studying engineering. (see AWE Self-Efficacy Literature Overview and Information on Self-Efficacy). LAESE can be used with any students studying engineering. A High School instrument, based on LAESE, was developed and tested by the Female Recruits Explore Engineering (FREE) Project.

Collect data from all students or participants or, if you are using LAESE in conjunction with a specific course, project or outreach activity, collect data from participants and non-participants for comparative purposes. The resulting information can provide the basis for program and/or activity development related to retention and student development.

NOTE: The LAESE undergraduate instrument has been tested and validated on male and female engineering students.

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What does the instrument measure?

LAESE measures self-efficacy of undergraduate students studying engineering or high school students. Items address the following aspects of self-efficacy.

  • Student efficacy in “barrier” situations

  • Outcomes expected from studying engineering

  • Student expectations about work load

  • Student process of choosing a major

  • Student coping strategies in difficult situations.

  • Career exploration

  • Influence of role models on study and career decisions

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Sample Survey Items

LAESE items are focused on measuring aspects of self-efficacy, confidence and outcomes expectations, all factors that have been shown to influence success in studying engineering (see AWE Self-efficacy literature overview). As examples, the following items examine the respondent’s coping strategies for a typical difficult situation and her confidence in performing successfully in key academic areas.


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Can the instrument be modified?

The survey questions have been tested and validated, thus they are not changeable in the downloadable documents. If you do change them, they are no longer validated, nor are they valid for national comparative data. However, in order to meet your specific objectives, you may add additional questions to the survey such as institutional information and specific, activity-related questions.

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When is it best to administer the instrument?

Administer LAESE to engineering students at the beginning of each academic year to collect longitudinal data that can be compared from one year to the next; high school students at the beginning of the school year or annually for participants in outreach programs or activities. The first administration will provide you with baseline data for that set of students or student cohort. You can then track that cohort throughout their enrollment in the curriculum or program to track changes in respondent self-efficacy.

LAESE contains approximately 60 items and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Whenever you use any AWE instruments, you are responsible for the well-being and the privacy of all respondents. Therefore ...

Before collecting any data using AWE instruments, we strongly suggest you obtain IRB approval.

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Does this instrument require me to get Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval?

Contact the IRB at your institution - they must answer this question for you. As with all AWE instruments, a complete review and approval from your institution’s Institutional Review Board may be required prior to implementation of this survey. A good rule of thumb is that if you any data that will be reported outside your organization, you need IRB approval.

IRB requires that when you administer surveys, you must educate participants about possible risks and benefits involved in taking surveys, obtain their consent before involving them in your research and keep them informed about how data will be used. This is called the "informed consent process."

Visit The Institutional Review Board (IRB) Process page for more information about the informed consent process and to see examples of informed consent documents.

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Using the Results

LAESE is designed to collect longitudinal data on engineering students’ self-efficacy in engineering. You may use LAESE data in two ways: 1) examine results from the entire LAESE instrument, or 2) examine results from subsets of LAESE items, called subscales, that are designed to measure specific factors or aspects of self –efficacy.

The LAESE survey includes sets of items that measure self-efficacy, feelings of inclusions and outcome expectations. Measuring these concepts with a set of items rather than one item provides better results than measuring each concept with just one question. These sets of items are called subscales.

The following subscales, listed by the underlying concept, are included in the AWE LAESE survey. Following each name is the number of items in the subscale and the Cronbach's alpha, which is an indication of the reliability of the subscale. Reliability is acceptable when the alpha is between .70 and .90.


  1. Engineering career success expectations – 7 items, alpha = .84

  2. Engineering self-efficacy I – 5 items, alpha = .82

  3. Engineering self-efficacy II – 6 items, alpha = .82

  4. Feeling of inclusion – 4 items, alpha = .73

  5. Coping self-efficacy – 6 items, alpha = .78

  6. Math outcome expectations – 3 items, alpha = .84

LAESE data as a whole or from the LAESE subscales may be used in the following ways.

  • Link LAESE results with ADAPT data . This will allow you to determine if self-efficacy results are different for students who participate in WIE activities in differing levels.
  • Link LAESE data with your tracking of student retention. This will allow you to determine if retention of students is related to their reported self-efficacy.
  • Longitudinally, track changes in the self-efficacy of cohorts of students in engineering as they complete their course of study. By defining differing cohorts, you can answer such questions as
    • Do students who participate in WIE activities differ in self-efficacy from students who do not participate?
    • Do students who are retained in engineering differ in self-efficacy from students who are not retained?

Download LAESE subscale key

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Online Versions

An online SurveyMonkey version of LAESE-Undergraduate instrument is available for export. To find out more contact AWE.

Download the Instrument




Developed by The Pennsylvania State University and University of Missouri
Funded by The National Science Foundation (HRD 0120642 and HRD 0607081)