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Analyzing K-12 Education as a Complex System

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Systems Engineering Education Research

Tagged Division

Systems Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.194.1 - 23.194.11



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Paper Authors

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Donna C. Llewellyn Boise State University


Marion Usselman Georgia Institute of Technology

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Marion Usselman is Associate Director for Federal Outreach and Research for Georgia Tech's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC). She has been with CEISMC since 1996 developing and managing university-K-12 educational partnership programs and assisting Georgia Tech faculty in creating K-12 educational outreach initiatives. Before coming to CEISMC, Marion earned her Ph.D. in Biophysics from the Johns Hopkins University and taught biology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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Douglas Edwards Georgia Institute of Technology

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Douglas Edwards is a Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) educational researcher with the Georgia Institute of Technology. His educational experience in the Atlanta area for the past twenty years includes high school mathematics teaching, Math/Science Magnet Program Director, Title I educational data specialist, and Associate Professor of Information Technology. As a former US Air Force electronics engineer, Doug was also an engineering project manager.

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Roxanne A Moore Georgia Institute of Technology

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Roxanne is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Mechanical Engineering working at the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) at Georgia Tech. She attended University of Illinois for her BS in Mechanical Engineering, then received a Masters in 2009 and a PhD in 2012 both in ME from Georgia Tech. Her doctoral work was in the area of design optimization. She is currently working on engineering curriculum development for middle and high school classrooms.

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Pratik Mital Georgia Institute of Technology

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Pratik Mital is a Ph.D. student in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research interests are using systems engineering methodologies to model various systems, using industrial engineering and operations research techniques to analyze and optimize them. Some of the areas where he has worked are supply chain, material handling systems. Recently he has also started working in modeling the K-12 education using systems engineering.

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Analyzing K-12 Education as a Complex SystemSchools and school districts are complex, dynamic systems affected by a number of factorsspecific to the environment. Educational researchers have long studied school reform and theissues of what facilitates and hinders success in curricular and other interventions. Experts ineducational policy and public policy also have studied the interaction of policies and practices ofreform agendas within social and organizational contexts. Industrial engineering, which had itsorigins in studying manufacturing systems, is a field where researchers have made greatcontributions towards understanding complex systems including transportation systems, financialsystems, health care, and even recently humanitarian support systems. However educationalreform has so far not been systematically analyzed using a multi-disciplinary systems approachthat includes the tools of industrial engineering.The (****) project at (***Institute of Higher Ed**) is creating an innovative framework, whichis both conceptual and theoretical and rooted within the field of industrial engineering, toexamine barriers and enablers to school change and reform. The framework describes thesystem both in terms of actors and the attributes of those actors and will become the foundationfor identifying a subset of combinations that converge to levels that allow for successful changein the system. The current paper will describe the first step in creating this framework, namelyidentifying the actors within K-12 education and the attributes of these actors that are critical toeducational change. The paper will also present a scale for describing these attributes.

Llewellyn, D. C., & Usselman, M., & Edwards, D., & Moore, R. A., & Mital, P. (2013, June), Analyzing K-12 Education as a Complex System Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19208

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