Perceived Authenticity Scale

STEAM education is a method for driving student engagement in STEM topics through personal expression, creativity and aesthetics. EarSketch, a collaborative and authentic learning tool which introduces students to programming through music remixing, has previously been shown to enhance student engagement and intent to persist in computing. The goal of EarSketch is to broaden participation in computing through a thickly authentic learning environment that has personal and real world relevance in both computational and music domains. This mixed methods study extends previous work by 1) using a newly- developed instrument to assess creativity and 2) testing a theory of change model that provides an explanatory framework for increasing student engagement in STEAM. The results suggest that students who used EarSketch express statistically significant gains in computing attitudes and creativity. Furthermore, a series of multiple regression analyses found that a creative learning environment, fueled by a meaningful and personally relevant EarSketch curriculum, drives improvements in students' attitudes and intent to persist in computing. This work makes a significant contribution to computer science education by establishing the effectiveness of an authentic STEAM curriculum and advancing our knowledge of the underlying mechanisms driving students' motivations to persist in STEM disciplines.

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