Washington, District of Columbia
April 6, 2018
April 6, 2018
April 7, 2018
Reasoning about mechanism is central to disciplined inquiry in science and engineering and should thus be one of the foundations of a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) education. In addition, mechanistic reasoning is one of the core competencies listed in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Engineering Concepts and Practices (NGSS Lead States, 2013). Mechanistic explanations focus on the processes that underlie cause-effect relationships and take into account how the activities of system components affect one another.
While some assessment work has been accomplished in engineering education, to date mechanistic reasoning is an area where limited assessment development has been accomplished for pre-college populations. The data in this study come from the calibration of the Assessment of Mechanistic Reasoning Project (AMRP) (Weinberg, 2012), designed to diagnose individuals' mechanistic reasoning about systems of levers. This assessment presents a domain-specific characterization of mechanistic reasoning and illuminates what is easy and difficult about this form of reasoning. The study participants included elementary, middle, and high school students as well as college undergraduates and adults without higher education. Within this calibration study, item analyses, reliability, and validity measures were conducted using Item Response Theory (IRT) modeling; the AMRP assessment was found to have high reliability and validity. In addition, this study shows that machine characteristics such as number of levers, lever type, and arrangement of levers can affect the difficulty of mechanistic reasoning.
Weinberg, P. J. (2018, April), Assessing Mechanistic Reasoning: Leveraging Systems Thinking Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Spring Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--29457
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2018 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015