New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
In summer, 2015, a school of engineering within a comprehensive urban university provided 30 teachers with on-campus professional development (PD) and 323 students with multi-week direct services using a locally-developed robotics and smart cities curricula. Goals were to provide hands-on, standards-aligned STEM learning to underserved students while simultaneously providing embedded PD to middle and high school teachers.
Lessons and activities for the two curricular tracks have been developed by engineering students and faculty over the past decade under public and philanthropic support for K-12 STEM education projects. Under faculty supervision, 12 graduate students refined existing lessons and activities for middle and high school students, and then conducted two week summer training for over 40 undergraduate and graduate engineering students who would deliver these curricula to teachers and students. Student participants were entering 8th or 11th grade (42% female both pre and post project) and had been chosen by the city’s department of education (DoE) via lottery. Services were provided at 5 public schools with students drawn from the entire district for a given school. District teachers applied for summer positions and were selected by the city’s DoE. After a three-day intensive PD at the university, teacher/engineering student pairs co-taught either robotics or smart cities curricula, 4 days/week for 5 weeks.
The project was assessed using student responses to a ten item anonymous paper survey, pre (N=323) and post (N=245) project, adapted from NSF-funded STEM attitudes and perceptions surveys. Students circled a response (YES!; Pretty much; I don’t know; Not really; NO!), re-coded for analysis to a 1 to 5 Likert scale since children respond better to statement-based scales. For these non-normally distributed data, a Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was performed, assuming unmatched samples, for each item pre vs. post. Uncorrected for multiple testing, results showed significance (p=0.007) for Q7 “I usually understand what is going on in my STEM classes” and suggestive significance (p=0.078) for Q1 “I would like to have a career in a STEM field.” A nonparametric randomization test with multiple linear regression was used to identify effects of and interactions between factors: status (pre vs. post), gender, and program (robotics vs. smart cities). Three statements showed significant positive change (p<0.05) post program: Q7 “I usually understand what is going on in my STEM classes;” Q8 “My family expects me to complete a 4 year college;” and Q10 “I know someone with a STEM related job who encourages me to pursue a STEM career, too.” Boys were significantly more likely (p=0.01) to affirm Q2 “My family has encouraged me to learn more STEM” and girls were significantly more likely (p=0.001) to affirm Q8. Two items showed significant interaction effects between status and program or gender and program.
Results indicate that hands-on summer STEM curriculum, three day STEM PD for teachers, followed by embedded co-teaching by engineering students, improve average STEM attitudes and perceptions among K-12 students. It cannot be ruled out that SES factors contributing to program drop-out drove some results. Responses on pre-project survey were significantly associated with gender for items describing messages to students’ from their families regarding STEM. Full paper will provide details on program design, curricula overview, training methodology, and engagement of students in hands-on STEM learning. Moreover, details will be provided for student responses to STEM attitudes and perception survey, as well as highlights of analysis. Future offerings of the project will aim to gather additional data, including teacher questionnaire responses.
Listman, J. B., & Kapila, V. (2016, June), Impact of Engineering Curricula and Student Programming on STEM Attitudes among Middle and High School Students (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27309
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