June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
26.760.1 - 26.760.15
Factors Influential to Fourth Graders Engineering Learning and Identity Development (Fundamental)Elementary engineering education reform does not happen in isolation of school, classroom, andstudent level contexts. Many factors, both related and unrelated to teacher professionaldevelopment will likely influence students’ achievement of engineering. Furthermore, smallstudies focused on one or two variables associated with student learning are limited and mayhave confounding variables that were unaccounted for by the model. Therefore, there is a need tocomprehensively examine what factors and mediators influence students’ learning of engineeringand which are not significant. The purpose of this research is to understand the relationship ofthe following hypothesized influences on fourth grade students’ learning of engineering andengineering identity development: (1) school socio-economic status, (2) teacher experience withengineering, (3) student gender, (4) student race/ethnicity, and (5) student prior exposure toengineering.This research was conducted as part of a large 5-year project, which provided teacherprofessional development to elementary teachers in grades 2-4, for the purpose of integratingengineering into their science lessons. Data collected in the last four years of the project werecombined, which resulted in participation of 1026 fourth grade students, their 47 teachers, and 14schools. Teachers were asked to implement hands-on introductory lessons on technology and theengineering design process, in addition to one unit of Engineering is Elementary by the Museumof Science Boston. Student Knowledge Tests (with items related to the science and engineeringlearning objectives of the lessons) and the Engineering Identity Development Scale wereadministered at the beginning and end of each school year. Data were modeled in a path analysisusing Mplus 6.0. Path analysis is a form of structural equation modeling that is moresophisticated than general linear regression, where several relationships between variables areallowed in one analysis.The preliminary results of the path analysis indicate the following are significant, p > 0.01: (a)students attending lower socio-economic status schools (as identified by Title 1 status) havelower learning gains in science and engineering than students attending other schools, (b)students with prior exposure to engineering lessons have a greater increase in engineeringidentity development than students with no prior engineering exposure, and (c) while priorexposure to engineering led to significantly higher pretest scores on the knowledge test, therewere no significant differences on students posttest scores. The paper will provide the finalmodel with goodness of fit indices and discuss implications for teacher professional developmentand curricular reform.
Douglas, K. A., & Yoon, S. Y., & Tafur-Arciniegas, M., & Diefes-Dux, H. A. (2015, June), Factors Influential to Fourth Graders' Engineering Learning and Identity Development Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24097
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