S1-SP4-3 - Exploring students' identity development from the perspective of study difficulties

3. Research Work In Progress
Ville Isomöttönen1 , Ville Hämäläinen1, 2, Jennifer Clark3, Vesa Lappalainen1
1 University of Jyväskylä
2 GRADIA Jyväskylä Educational Consortium
3 Montana State University

This work-in-progress paper in research category reports preliminary findings on how students taking introductory computing courses develop identity from the perspective of study difficulties. The motivation was that students identified lack of meaning and prospects (cf. identity) as a study difficulty in a previous qualitative study. The present study further explores this finding by issuing both an identity development and a self-efficacy scale to a larger first-year student cohort. The aim is to characterize the study cohort by the aspects included in the identity development scale, and thereby increase understandings of students' challenges. Moreover, a correlation analysis between identity development and self-efficacy was performed to explore if, for instance, low self-efficacy related to yet a loose identity choice. We also examined the effect of age. Main observations included that many students showed ruminative exploration of identity, which was negatively associated with self-efficacy. Altogether, a rather high number of negative and neutral responses with respect to the identity choice was observed. An initial look at self-efficacy distributions suggests that students related to challenge positively, while a large number of neutral answers were found with respect to the dimension of Effort. This might be indicative of uncertainty about doing the work. Regarding the effect of age, younger students were observed to worry more about the future compared to older students.