Project to Assess Climate in Engineering

Use the Survey

Frequently Asked Questions about the PACE Survey

Where can I get the survey?

The survey is available for download in Excel and PDF versions.

How should I give credit for using the survey?

If the survey is used in whole or parts, please use the citation provided here.

Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity, University of Washington (2012). Project to Assess Climate in Engineering Survey, Version 16.

You may also find our conference papers and journal articles helpful as you familiarize yourself with the survey.

What can the PACE survey be used for?

The PACE survey can be used as a tool for schools aiming to understand and improve the climate in undergraduate engineering. It can be used to assess longitudinal change over time in engineering climate. It is meant to be administered online.

The PACE survey, which was designed and pre-tested to accurately measure undergraduate engineering climate (culture). The survey covers the following areas:

  • Interaction with professors
  • Interaction with Teaching Assistants (TAs, GTAs, GSIs)
  • Lab experiences (if applicable)
  • Resources offered by the College of Engineering.
  • Interaction with other students
  • Involvement with extracurricular activities, organizations and programs
  • Perceptions of engineering career
  • Perceptions of engineering major
  • Personal experiences
  • Transfer student experiences

Use of the PACE survey can provide insight to the strengths and weaknesses of your institution’s STEM departments if you disaggregate the results by department.

How reliable is the survey?

Both administrations of the PACE survey had reliability testing conducted on the data. The results from the 2012 administration reliability tests indicated that each of the seven subscales showed adequate to excellent internal consistency.  The average cronbach’s alpha was .80.  See more information on the Methods page.

What is the survey’s construct validity?

In order to examine the construct validity of the questionnaire, an exploratory factor analysis was performed on 71 Likert-type items taken from the Introduction, Professors, Teaching Assistants, Student Interaction, Perceptions of Engineering, Engineering Major, and Confidence subscales. 

In general, items that were intended to tap into a common idea (e.g., evaluation of professors) did load together onto a common factor.  The Perception of Engineering items were the main exception: they resolved into four different factors.

The factor analysis results indicate a generally well-constructed set of items for assessing the undergraduate engineering experience, but some items could be omitted without consequence. See more information on the Methods page.

Can I edit the survey?

While details specific to your institution—such as institution, college/school name—should be revised, other changes in item wording or administration to departments other than engineering will affect the survey’s reliability and validity. You should do your own testing of reliability if you make item wording changes. You may add institution-specific questions at the end of the survey, but be aware that this will further increase the respondent burden and response time, which may result in a lower response rate.