Asee peer logo

Factors Influential to Fourth Graders' Engineering Learning and Identity Development

Download Paper |


2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Fundamental: K-12 Students' Beliefs, Motivation, and Self-efficacy

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.760.1 - 26.760.15



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Kerrie A Douglas Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Dr. Douglas is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Purdue School of Engineering Education. Her research is focused on methods of assessment and evaluation unique to engineering learning contexts.

visit author page


So Yoon Yoon Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

So Yoon Yoon, Ph.D., is a post-doctoral research associate at Texas A&M University. She received her Ph.D. and Educational Psychology with the specialties in Gifted Education and Research Methods & Measurement, respectively from Purdue University. Her work centers on P-16 engineering education research, as a psychometrician, program evaluator, and institutional data analyst. As a psychometrician, she revised the PSVT:R for secondary and undergraduate students, developed the TESS (Teaching Engineering Self-efficacy Scale) for K-12 teachers, and rescaled the SASI (Student Attitudinal Success Inventory) for engineering students. As a program evaluator, she has evaluated the effects of teacher professional development (TPD) programs on K-6 teachers’ and elementary students’ attitudes toward engineering and STEM knowledge. As an institutional data analyst, she is investigating engineering students’ pathways to their success, exploring subgroup variations.

visit author page


Mariana Tafur-Arciniegas P.E. Purdue University, West Lafayette

visit author page

Mariana Tafur is a Ph.D. candidate and a graduate assistant in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She has a M.S., in Education at Los Andes University, Bogota, Colombia; and a B.S., in Electrical Engineering at Los Andes University, Bogota, Colombia. She is a 2010 Fulbright Fellow. Her
research interests include engineering skills development, STEM for non-engineers adults, motivation in STEM to close the technology literacy gap, STEM formative assessment, and Mixed-Methods design.

visit author page


Heidi A. Diefes-Dux Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Heidi A. Diefes-Dux is a Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Food Science from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in Food Process Engineering from the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University. She is a member of Purdue’s Teaching Academy. Since 1999, she has been a faculty member within the First-Year Engineering Program, teaching and guiding the design of one of the required first-year engineering courses that engages students in open-ended problem solving and design. Her research focuses on the development, implementation, and assessment of modeling and design activities with authentic engineering contexts. She is currently a member of the educational team for the Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN).

visit author page

Download Paper |


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

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: © 2015 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