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Development of the Science and Engineering Classroom Learning Observation Protocol

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

K-12 Teachers: PD, Implementation, and Beyond

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.465.1 - 25.465.8



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Paper Authors

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Emily Dringenberg Purdue University

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Ruth E. H. Wertz Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16


Senay Purzer Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Senay Purzer is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education and is the Director of Assessment Research for the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) at Purdue University. Purzer has journal publications on instrument development, teacher professional development, and K-12 engineering education. Her research focuses on assessing constructs such as innovation, information literacy, and collaborative learning.

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Johannes Strobel Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Johannes Strobel is Director of INSPIRE, Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning, and Assistant Professor of engineering education and learning design and technology at Purdue University. NSF and several private foundations fund his research. His research and teaching focuses on policy of P-12 engineering, how to support teachers and students' academic achievements through engineering learning, the measurement and support of change of "habits of mind," particularly in regards to sustainability and the use of cyber-infrastructure to sensitively and resourcefully provide access to and support learning of complexity.

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Development of the Engineering Classroom Learning Observation ProtocolDespite the continuous efforts, increasing K-12 students’ access to and performance in STEMsubjects is still a challenge. K-12 engineering education brings a new perspective to teachingSTEM subjects. However, while some research shows engineering education supports studentSTEM learning outcomes, others suggest lack of significant gains in student learning. One of thechallenges is that while there had been studies examining the relationship between curriculumused and student learning outcomes, few studies looked at how these learning outcomes arelinked to specific classroom practices. In other words, are there specific types of engineeringteaching practices (re-design projects, new design projects, projects with societal connections,projects with competitive aspects, etc.) that result in different types of learning outcomes? Ourintended long-term goal is to study the alignment between K-12 engineering curricula, theimplementation of these curricula, and the resulting student learning outcomes. However, as afirst step, what is needed is a robust and validated classroom observation protocol that can helpdistinguish differences in instructional approaches and inform the discrepancies in literature onstudent learning. The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of the EngineeringClassroom Learning Observation Protocol (EcLO Protocol). The development of the protocolstarted by reviewing the K-12 STEM standards and NAE reports on K-12 engineering education.We also conducted a content analysis of prominent engineering curricula such as Engineering isElementary and Project Lead the Way to identify diverse ways engineering is taught in theclassroom. In addition, published and validated classroom observation protocols such asReformed Teaching Observation protocol (RTOP) are used as models. In its current form, EcLOis a theory-driven protocol with sufficient content and construct validity. Future research isneeded to establish its concurrent validity by comparing the observation scores and studentlearning outcomes.

Dringenberg, E., & Wertz, R. E. H., & Purzer, S., & Strobel, J. (2012, June), Development of the Science and Engineering Classroom Learning Observation Protocol Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21223

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