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Assessing Elementary Teachers' Design Knowledge Before And After Introduction Of A Design Process Model

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

New Learning Paradigms II

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.200.1 - 15.200.8



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Paper Authors


Ming-Chien Hsu Purdue University

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Ming-Chien is a doctoral student of engineering education and a research
assistant for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) at Purdue
Univeristy. She received for B.S. in Electrical Enigneering from National
Chiao Tung University, Taiwan, and a MS in Electrical Engineering from
Purdue University. Her current research focus is on engineering design and
K-12 engineering education.

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Monica Cardella Purdue University

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Monica Cardella is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education and the Co-Director of Assessment Research for the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) at Purdue University. Prof. Cardella earned a BSc in mathematics from the University of Puget Sound and a MS and PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington. Her research interests include: K-12 engineering education, engineering design, the role of parents in engineering education, assessment, learning in informal environments, and mathematical thinking.

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Senay Purzer Purdue University

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Senay Purzer is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She is also the Co-Director of Assessment Research for the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE). She received a Ph.D. and a M.A in Science Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. Her creative research focuses on collaborative learning, design & decision-making, and the role of engineering self-efficacy on student achievement.

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

Development of an Instrument to Assess Elementary Teachers’ Design Process Knowledge: Findings from a Pilot Test Abstract

As more states are adding engineering to their teaching and learning standards, teacher professional development activities are necessary to foster teachers’ familiarity with engineering and design content. We are in the process of developing an instrument to assess teachers’ knowledge of the engineering design process. This paper describes findings from one pilot test of the instrument.

The instrument (the design process knowledge task) was piloted with sixty-two elementary school teachers who attended a professional development workshop that introduced an engineering design process model that the teachers could use in their classrooms. The design process knowledge task was given to the teachers before and after the workshop. Quantitative analysis showed that there were significant differences between pre-test scores and post-test scores. We discuss the findings from this pilot study in terms of the concepts of design for which the instrument captured differences as well as the concepts where the instrument did not capture differences. The findings from the study provide insights into how the instrument can be further refined as well as insights into potential areas where teachers may need additional scaffolding in order to infuse engineering in their classrooms.


Engineering design has been identified as one of the key concepts to be learned at the K-12 level1. Recent studies have provided evidence that learning engineering content, especially engineering design, can motivate students and facilitate the learning of science2. One of the frameworks that researchers use to understand design is to characterize the process of design 3, 4. New reports on engineering education have also recognized the design process as an important part of K-12 engineering learning5.

Consequently, more and more states are adding engineering content, including design, as part of their K-12 teaching and learning standards. Efforts to include engineering at the K-12 level need to include teachers as one of the primary agents of engineering education. However, studies like the one conducted by Yasar et al. pointed out that K-12 teachers exhibited low familiarity with design and engineering content 6, which pointed out the need for teacher preparation in the field. There is a need to explore ways to assess teachers’ familiarity with engineering and design content in order to i) understand teachers’ initial understating of engineering and design and ii) make suggestions on the scaffolding we can give to teachers. We describe in this paper the efforts we made to develop an instrument that measures teachers’ knowledge about the engineering design process as well as some findings from a pilot study of the instrument.


In order to assess elementary school teachers’ understanding of the engineering design process, we are in the process of developing an instrument based on an existing instrument used to

Hsu, M., & Cardella, M., & Purzer, S. (2010, June), Assessing Elementary Teachers' Design Knowledge Before And After Introduction Of A Design Process Model Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16289

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