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Impacts of the Vanderbilt University Research Experience for Teachers Program 2008 - 2010: Analysis of Student Surveys Regarding Motivational Impact

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Assessment and Evaluation of K-12 Engineering Programs

Tagged Divisions

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.804.1 - 22.804.12



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Paper Authors


Stacy S. Klein-Gardner Vanderbilt University

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Stacy Klein-Gardner is the Director of STEM Outreach for Peabody College and the School of Engineering at Vanderbilt University. She is an associate professor of the practice of Biomedical Engineering, Teaching & Learning, and Radiological Sciences.

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Amber C. Spolarich North Carolina State University

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Amber Spolarich is currently a senior at North Carolina State University majoring in chemical engineering with a concentration in green chemistry. She has worked with outreach programs through the university that have placed her in local public schools to act as a resource for science, math, and engineering related courses in the hopes of elevating excitement for learning in K-12 classrooms. She has also conducted research in conjunction with the Vanderbilt Instruction in Biomedical Engineering for Secondary science (VIBES) program which aids high school teachers in bringing engineering education into their classrooms.

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Impacts of the Vanderbilt University Research Experience for Teachers Program 2008-2010: Analysis of Student Surveys Regarding Motivational Impact Amber C. Spolarich and Stacy S. Klein-Gardner, Ph. D.Abstract The Vanderbilt University Bioengineering Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Programallows teachers to complete twenty-three (23) days of research and develop a curriculum unit thatincorporates their research in a way that is appropriate for their individual classrooms. It was thehypothesis that the research-based curriculum units developed by the RET participants would engagestudents in the learning process and result in a higher level of interest in science and engineering; in turn,leading to increased levels of student motivation as compared to a control teacher’s instruction. Todetermine student motivation, a survey instrument was developed, consisting of twenty (20) questionsand based on the following four points of interest: (1) the student’s view of the classroom experience, (2)the student’s ability to relate the lesson to life, (3) the student’s level of interest in the class, and (4) thestudent’s enjoyment of the topic. The research was conducted in the high school/middle schoolclassrooms of teachers who participated in the RET program. High school and middle school students,aged 12-18, were recruited from several area schools. It was found that the student’s ability to relate thelesson to life and the student’s enjoyment of the topicwere significantly greater than the controlclassroom. These results provide evidence that the RET program and its associated research-basedmodules positively affected student motivation.

Klein-Gardner, S. S., & Spolarich, A. C. (2011, June), Impacts of the Vanderbilt University Research Experience for Teachers Program 2008 - 2010: Analysis of Student Surveys Regarding Motivational Impact Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18085

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