Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Subject: LCSH

Entrepreneurs, Business psychology, Engineering students


Civil Engineering | Engineering Education


This work in progress describes the development of an instrument to measure entrepreneurial mindset of engineering students. The need for developing the entrepreneurial mindset of engineering students is being recognized by many universities. However, very few comprehensive, generalized and well-validated instruments are available for assessing the entrepreneurial mindset of engineering students. Most research and educational efforts focus on the design and implementation of engineering entrepreneurship programs, but assessment practices have not kept up.1-2 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.3 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.4 The Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) states that an entrepreneurially minded engineer should possess curiosity about our changing world, habitually make connections, gaining insight from many sources of information, and focus on creating value for others.5 KEEN defines 12 secondary learning outcomes based on the primary 3C’s.5 This paper describes the development of an assessment instrument to measure the entrepreneurial mindset of engineering students based on KEEN’s definitions. An assessment instrument consisting of 37 questions was developed. Since psychological measurement theory suggests that lengthy questionnaires can lead to low response rates and distorted responses due to fatigue, the survey was designed to be reasonably concise. Students’ general entrepreneurial characteristics such as their intellectual and exploratory curiosity levels, interests and experiences in entrepreneurship, career plans, etc. are measured through 12 items. The other 25 items are designed to measure the KEEN secondary learning outcomes, with one or two questions related to each outcome. The specific approaches undertaken for item validation and data collection are described. Statistical analysis results from t-tests on different student populations, reliability analysis based on Cronbach’s α, and exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses of the assessment instrument are presented. It is expected that the outcomes of the factor analyses will result in a rigorously validated assessment instrument for the measurement of the engineering entrepreneurial mindset of students.

1. Shartrand, et al, 2008, “Assessing student learning in technology entrepreneurship”, the 38th ASEE/ISEE Frontiers in Education Conference, Oct. 2008, Saratoga Springs, NY. 2. Pittaway and Hannon, 2009, “Assessment practice in enterprise education”, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2009, pp. 71-93. 3. Standish-Kuon and Rice, 2002, “Introducing engineering and science students to entrepreneurship: Models and influential factors at six American universities,” JEE, Vol. 91, No.1, 2002, pp. 33-39. 4. Bilen, S.G., Kisenwether, E. C., Rzasa, S. E. and Wise, J.C. “Developing and Assessing students’ entrepreneurial skills and mind-sets”, Journal of Engineering Education, April 2005, pp 233-243. 5. KEEN website:, last retrieved on Oct.11. 2015


Learn more about the e-learning modules at this link.

See the related article "Entrepreneurial E-Learning" by the authors in the Dec. 2018 issue of ASEE Prism.

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Publisher Citation

Li, C., Harichandran, R. S., Carnasciali, M-I., Erdil, N. O., & Nocito-Gobel, J. (2016). Development of an instrument to measure the entrepreneurial mindset of engineering students. Proceedings, ASEE Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, Paper 15139, 15 pp.