June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
15.663.1 - 15.663.15
Identifying Engineering Interest and Potential in Middle School Students: Constructing and Validating an Instrument Abstract
Due to the projected U.S. market demand in 2014 for 1.64 million engineering educated and trained individuals45, it is vital that we help children understand engineering concepts, explore career choices in the field of engineering, and determine if pursuing engineering would be a good fit for them.
Today’s curriculum is very focused on mathematics and writing due to the demands of standardized testing, however with a national interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education, there is a movement to incorporate engineering into the curriculum. Since children make career choices by 7th grade57, integrating engineering concepts and engineering college education and career options into the K-6 curriculum are a necessary change.
One way to determine if engineering is a good fit is for a student to use a self-assessment instrument. A self-assessment tool helps an individual discover more about him/her self55. In making career choices, an assessment of one’s skills, interests, personality, and values influences career decisions9. Exploration of the literature reveals that an instrument for self-assessment of young engineering talent, interest, and fit does not exist.
The purpose of this research is to create an instrument to help fifth and sixth grade students identify themselves as having engineering interest and potential. The purpose of this instrument is to raise awareness of student interest and potential in engineering and is not intended to serve as a screening instrument. This work describes the instrument development, the input from the engineering and education communities in the context of content validity, the pilot and revision of the draft instrument, and the content validation of the final instrument.
Since Sputnik’s launch in 1957, our nation has focused on STEM education improvement. Key legislation, policies, and campaigns have been introduced during every presidential term, with the hopes that measurable gains will be made in our leadership position in the STEM fields.
The education focus in the STEM content areas, specifically engineering, is closely associated with the current focus on the engineering job market. The U.S. Department of Labor forecasts that by the year 2014, the United States will need approximately 1.64 million individuals who are engineering educated and trained to fill the engineering employment demand45. Based on the current pipeline, this country is facing a period of an inadequate supply of American engineers.
This shortage is due to several factors: a substantial number of baby boomer engineers are retiring12, there are not enough U.S. college students studying engineering today54, engineering is not a commonly understood profession26, the number of 16-24 year old U.S. workers is projected to decrease 6.9% from 2006 to 201650, the trend for graduates with advanced engineering
Strutz, M., & Ohland, M., & Bowen, E., & Mann, E. (2010, June), Identifying Engineering Interest And Potential In Middle School Students: Constructing And Validating An Instrument Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16065
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