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Enhancing Conceptual Transfer Of Mathematical Concepts And Motivating Students Using Engineering Performance Tasks

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

ERM Potpourri

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.567.1 - 10.567.14



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Paper Authors

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Erastus Njage

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Alicia Davis

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Solomon Alao

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Craig Scott

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Yacob Astatke

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Bert Davy

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Pamela Leigh-Mack

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Masud Salimian

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

Enhancing Conceptual Transfer of Mathematical Concepts and Motivating Students using Engineering Performance Tasks

Yacob Astatke, Pamela Leigh-Mack, Solomon Alao, Craig J. Scott, Alicia Davis, A. Bert Davy, Erastus Njage, Masud Salimian Morgan State University Baltimore, Maryland

Abstract This paper presents a discussion of the usage of engineering performance tasks in two sections of an innovative Pre-Calculus course to enhance conceptual transfer while motivating engineering students. A description of the entire process from concept to implementation is given including: 1) the role of performance tasks in general; 2) the faculty development that occurred; 3) engineering performance tasks and their development; 4) performance tasks implementation; and 5) assessment and evaluation. Specific reasoning processes and mental habits associated with the Dimensions of Learning pedagogy are designed in the performance tasks, and are presented. Aligning the performance tasks with the topics covered in the lecture is the approach taken, and details of this process are provided. Results are positive. Approximately ninety percent (90%) of the students were proficient at solving the engineering performance tasks. Formative assessment results of the two-minute paper indicated that students understood and could explain the specific procedural and declarative knowledge addressed. In addition, the instructional framework increased students’ Pre-Calculus knowledge, and confidence for solving Pre-Calculus and engineering problems. These results were validated by the use of Pair Sample T-tests. The results of this study have implications for improving conceptual transfer of mathematical concepts and motivating engineering students.

Introduction Institutions have developed various strategies for motivating students and exposing them to engineering, including the use of freshmen engineering design courses. On the other hand, some institutions have used a “just in time” approach in teaching the necessary mathematics for engineering in order to spark students’ interest and because of the difficulty students have in negotiating mathematics courses, particularly early in their program1. Moreover, when students initially take engineering courses, they often have difficulty applying mathematical concepts and knowledge to solve engineering problems. This paper presents a performance assessment approach to improve motivation and to enhance learning and conceptual transfer of mathematics concepts, using performance tasks and rubrics in an innovative Pre-Calculus course. A multidisciplinary team of faculty from the Schools of Engineering, Science, and Education collaborated in order to develop a series of performance tasks in the disciplines of civil, electrical and industrial engineering. The performance tasks incorporate the Dimensions of Learning (DOL) pedagogical framework, which is a powerful, effective and comprehensive model of five dimensions that uses what researchers and theorists know about learning to define the learning process.2

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Njage, E., & Davis, A., & Alao, S., & Scott, C., & Astatke, Y., & Davy, B., & Leigh-Mack, P., & Salimian, M. (2005, June), Enhancing Conceptual Transfer Of Mathematical Concepts And Motivating Students Using Engineering Performance Tasks Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--15069

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: © 2005 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