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A Valid And Reliable Survey Instrument For Measuring K 12 Teachers' Perceptions And Needs On Design, Engineering, And Technology

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Assessing Perceptions of Engineers and Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.138.1 - 11.138.15



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Paper Authors


Sharon Kurpius-Robinson Arizona State University

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Sharon E. Robinson Kurpius is a professor of Counseling Psychology. She completed her doctorate in Counseling and in Educational Inquiry Methodology from Indiana University in 1978, at which time she accepted a faculty position at Arizona State University. She has received numerous national grants examining undergraduates’ academic persistence and the academic success of talented adolescent girls. She was recently named a “Multicultural Scholar” by the NACAC for her work on the retention of racial/ethnic minority students in higher education.

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Dale Baker Arizona State University

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Dale R. Baker is a Professor of science education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at ASU. She is also the Co-Editor of The Journal of Research in Science Teaching. Her teaching responsibilities include science curricula, teaching and learning, and assessment courses with an emphasis on constructivist theory and issues of equity. Her research focuses on issues of gender, science, and science teaching. She has won two awards for her research in these areas.

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Stephen Krause Arizona State University

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Stephen J. Krause is Professor and an Associate Chair of the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department at ASU. His teaching responsibilities are in the areas of design and selection of materials, general materials engineering, polymer science, and characterization of materials. His research interests are in innovative education in engineering, and structural characterization of polymers and semiconductors. He has co-developed a Materials Concept Inventory for assessing fundamental knowledge of students in introductory materials engineering classes. Most recently, he has been working on Project Pathways, an NSF supported Math Science Partnership, in developing modules for a courses on Connecting Mathematics with Physics and Chemistry and also a course on Engineering Capstone Design

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Chell Roberts Arizona State University

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Chell A. Roberts is an associate professor of industrial engineering. He received his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from Virginia Tech in 1991. He has a MS in Industrial Engineering and a BA in Mathematics from the University of Utah. He currently serves as a member of the board of directors for the Society for Computer Simulation International and has been actively involved in developing undergraduate engineering design curriculum.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Valid and Reliable Survey Instrument for Measuring K-12 Teachers' Perceptions and Needs In Design, Engineering, and Technology


Increasing the number of technologically literate people through teaching design, engineering, and technology (DET) in K-12 classrooms is increasingly becoming a national goal. National Science Education Standards, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, and Standards for Technological Literacy list similar objectives related to DET education. While the need and objectives are clear, teachers’ familiarity and confidence in teaching DET concepts are not well known. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to develop an instrument that would identify K-12 teachers’ perceptions of, and needs for, DET. The survey results will provide insights and information for curriculum developers who want to bring engineering concepts into the K-12 curriculum. The instrument was developed by collaboration among people with backgrounds in science education, K-12 teaching, counseling, and engineering. The principal component analysis method was used to validate the instrument. This analysis revealed four factors defined as: 1) the importance of DET; 2) teachers’ familiarity with DET; 3) teachers’ perceptions of stereotypical characteristics of engineers; and 4) teachers’ perceptions of characteristics of engineers. The internal consistency reliability estimate for the survey was 0.88. The analysis of 98 teachers’ responses to these items indicated that: a) the importance of DET in the curriculum was stronger for female teachers as compared to male teachers, t ( 96) = 2.42, p < 0.05; b) elementary school teachers were least likely to teach DET in their curriculum as compared to middle school and high school teachers, F (2, 28.81) = 4.35, p < 0.05; and c) DET was more likely to be integrated into the science curriculum by teachers with moderate experience compared to teachers with little experience or extensive teaching experience, F (2, 85) = 2.86, p < 0.05. In addition, teachers were unfamiliar with DET, lacked confidence in their ability to teach DET, and held stereotypes about the skills needed to be an engineer. Implications of the results are discussed in terms of K-12 pre-service teacher preparation and in-service teacher professional development.


On one hand, technology plays an important role in many aspects of our daily lives. On the other hand, 75% of the public has a narrow view of technology and thinks of technology as computers, electronics, and the internet1. There is increasing interest in making technology education a priority in the K-12 curriculum1, 2. Bringing design, engineering, and technology (DET) into the K-12 curriculum requires long term planning, as many teachers are not trained to teach DET. DET is a neglected tool in science education in the U.S. despite the potential uses of DET to foster student interest in science and provide familiar and concrete contexts for abstract science and math concepts3,4. Therefore, the first step before implementing a DET curriculum is to investigate teachers’ familiarity, perceptions, and views of DET. It is also necessary to understand the barriers teachers might face when implementing DET in their classrooms.

Kurpius-Robinson, S., & Baker, D., & Krause, S., & Roberts, C. (2006, June), A Valid And Reliable Survey Instrument For Measuring K 12 Teachers' Perceptions And Needs On Design, Engineering, And Technology Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--651

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