Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



25 pp.

Conference Name

2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, June 26-29, 2022, Minneapolis, Minnesota


Women students are underrepresented in STEM education. The completion rate of women students in an engineering program are known to be low. Alongside this, the COVID-19 pandemic still occurs, threatening people’s health, leading to anxiety and depression, and influencing students’ learning. Numerous studies have displayed a negative association between self-efficacy and test anxiety, especially in quantitative subjects. All together may distract students from focusing on their cognitive goals. In turn, students may not be able to concentrate, disrupting their cognitive engagement to grasp knowledge. The present case study is aimed to investigate the note-taking strategies used in a fully-synchronous Civil Engineering senior-level course to support women students’ learning. The association between their note-taking practices, self-efficacy, cognitive engagement, and test anxiety was evaluated. Data were collected from online surveys (pre- and post-surveys) and students’ submitted class notes. Five women students with increased self-efficacy and cognitive engagement, and decreased test anxiety were selected, and their submitted class notes were analyzed. Results indicated that the three highest note-taking scores resulted in the highest improvement in the class throughout the term (32.25%, 26.7%, and 17.17% of grade improvement). A participant who did not improve the grade during the term faced significant personal challenges. However, the note-taking scores were comparable to their peers, and she showed improvement in cognitive engagement and test anxiety, Mdifference = 0.186, and Mdifference = 0.200, respectively. Each student faced different situations at various magnitudes, and each responded in different ways depending on their resources and support. The challenges encountered in the students’ lives might have influenced academic achievement and engagement. However, the present findings suggested that note-taking practices have supported the improvement of academic performance for four women students throughout the term. Addressing the present research questions allowed us to reveal the successful note-taking strategies and develop guidelines for educators interested in providing note-taking instructions to their students. Overall, the note-taking practices assisted the women students to increase their self-efficacy and cognitive engagement, and decrease test anxiety, supporting their persistence in STEM learning.


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© 2022 American Society for Engineering Education.

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Original Publication Citation

Palomo, M., & Muljana, P. (2022) Women students learning a STEM subject: An analysis of note-taking practices in a civil engineering course and the association with self-efficacy, cognitive engagement, test anxiety, and course achievement. Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, Minnesota.


0000-0003-0668-9083 (Muljana)