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Integrating STEM and Literacy through Engineering Design: Evaluation of Professional Development for Middle School Math and Science Teachers (Program/Curriculum Evaluation)

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Evaluation: Exploring the Impact of Programs & Professional Development for K-12 Teachers

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


Reagan Curtis West Virginia University

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Reagan Curtis, Ph.D., is Professor of Educational Psychology and chair of the Department of Learning Sciences and Human Development at West Virginia University. He pursues a diverse research agenda including areas of interest in (a) the development of mathematical and scientific knowledge across the lifespan, (b) online delivery methods and pedagogical approaches to university instruction, and (c) research methodology, program evaluation, and data analysis (qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methodological) for studies in developmental, educational, and counseling contexts. E-mail:

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Darran Cairns West Virginia University

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Darran is an Adjunct Associate Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at West Virginia University.

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Johnna Bolyard West Virginia University

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Johnna Bolyard is an Associate Professor of elementary and middle grades mathematics education in the College of Education and Human Services at West Virginia University. Her research interests focus on the development of mathematics teachers, particularly how K-8 teachers develop into mathematics teacher leaders.

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David Luke Loomis West Virginia University


Kelly Leigh Watts RESA 3

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Kelly Watts
Kelly has been the Executive Director for RESA 3 since July 2012. Previously, she was the Assistant Ex. Director and Program Development Director of RESA 2 for 7 years. She attained both her B.A. and M.A. from Marshall University and in 2001 she became a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescent Mathematics and re-certified in 2011. Prior to RESA 2 she was the math facilitator and taught mathematics at both the middle and High School level. She has a monograph authored in the book entitled “A Decade of Middle School Mathematics Curriculum Implementations” published by Information Age as well as several Research Papers and Presentations that have been refereed. She presents at both the state and national level and has been awarded over 7Million in a variety of grant awards. In her spare time she visits with her 2 children and 2 grandsons.

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Sera Mathew West Virginia University


Michael Theodore Carte George Washington High School

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Mike Carte attended West Virginia State College from 1990-1994 where he majored in chemistry and minored in biology. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree. While a student at State, Mr. Carte played baseball for the Yellow Jackets, and was named an NAIA All-America Scholar-Athlete in 1993. During the summer preceding his senior year, Mr. Carte was admitted into the inaugural class of the Governor’s Internship Program and served at the West Virginia Office of Air Quality. Upon graduation in May 1994, Mr. Carte took a position as an environmental chemist with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. After two years as a chemist, he enrolled in graduate school at Marshall University, where he obtained a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in December 1996.

After a two month, long-term substitute position at DuPont Junior High School (Belle, WV) in the spring of 1997, Mr. Carte began teaching full-time in August 1997 at South Charleston High School. During his eight-year tenure, Mr. Carte taught general science, International Baccalaureate chemistry, and physics. He also served as the academic coach.
Mr. Carte moved to Riverside High School (Belle, WV) in August 2005 and undertook the challenge of starting an Advanced Placement chemistry program. Following the implementation of an AP program and a seven-year stint at Riverside, Mr. Carte took a chemistry position in August 2012 at George Washington High School in Charleston, West Virginia.

Mr. Carte has received several professional honors and service opportunities during his career. He was named to Who’s Who Among American Teachers in 2001 and 2005. Moreover, during the 2003-2004 school year, Mr. Carte served as President of the West Virginia Academic Coaches Association. He was recognized as an outstanding teacher by the West Virginia Governor’s Honors Academy in 2006 and 2008, and in 2005, he served on West Virginia Instructional Materials Selection Committee for Science. He served on the WESTEST II Item Writing Committee for Chemistry in 2009. While at Riverside High School, Mr. Carte was named Kanawha County Teacher-of-the-Year in 2010.

In 2012, Mr. Carte gained certification from The Princeton Review to be a part-time general chemistry instructor, and has taught preparation courses for the Medical College Admissions Test at Marshall University. For the past two years, he served as the College and Career Ready/STEM Coordinator for Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) 3 where he provided services to Kanawha, Putnam, Boone, and Clay counties in the areas of instructional practices, staff development, grant writing, and STEM activities.

As part of his duties at RESA 3, Mr. Carte became a certified Literacy Design Collaborative trainer by the Southern Regional Education Board. He was one of five trainers that helped initiate Cohort I in West Virginia at High Schools That Work locations. He completed SREB’s LDC Trainers Academy during the summer of 2014, and was often called upon to work with schools and districts in the area of literacy.

Mr. Carte is the former director of Project TESAL (Teachers Engaged in STEM and Literacy), which is a three-year, federal Math-Science Partnership Grant award designed to provide professional development to middle school teachers within RESA 3 in the areas of engineering design and literacy. Additionally, Mr. Carte is overseeing the writing of SREB’s Middle School STEM Curriculum, which should be completed during the summer of 2016.

Mr. Carte has been married to the former Caroline Ramella for 16 years and they have two sons, Aaron and Jonah, ages 13 and 9 respectively. He currently resides in Charleston and serves as a chemistry instructor at George Washington High School.

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We describe a professional development program that supports integration of STEM and Literacy through Engineering Design for 24 in-service middle school math and science teachers in rural Appalachia. Through this program, teachers experience Engineering Design as learners, develop lesson plans utilizing engineering design to teach specific relevant math and science content standards and objectives, and receive formative feedback and content knowledge coaching as they deliver and fine-tune those lessons.

Project TESAL (Teachers Engaged in STEM and Literacy) is a three-year professional development program that includes annual two-week summer face-to-face intensive workshops followed by classroom observations with supportive feedback and four additional day-long trainings throughout the school year. We describe the program in detail, as well as evaluation findings from the first year of implementation.

Project TESAL has been successful recruiting a diverse group of mathematics, science, and special educators, and at engaging them in professional development they find valuable. The T-STEM survey revealed that professional development successfully increased participating teachers’ confidence to teach engineering design, their confidence that they can influence their students’ STEM performance, and their knowledge of STEM careers, as well as the amount they expect to utilize technology and instruction following STEM best educational practices.

Participating teachers identified several strengths of Project TESAL. Participants particularly valued being active participants in learning, opportunities for collaborating with peers and outside experts around the work of teaching, focusing on subject matter content across mathematics and science and students’ learning of that content, and the sustained ongoing nature of Project TESAL where the work teachers did in professional development was fully relevant to their work as classroom teachers. These strengths align directly with best practices for professional development and for overcoming the challenges of professional development specifically on math-science integration and engineering design instruction.

As we move forward in this three-year project, we focus on continuing to identify teachers’ current knowledge, skills, and attitudes as foundations for adding value to their knowledge base and instructional skill set. We are particularly excited about further developing a system linking individual assessment and individualized skills development to facilitate coaching teachers to strengthen their pedagogical content knowledge and support student learning in engineering design, mathematics, science, and literacy. We are leveraging relationships with the state Department of Education to acquire student-level standardized test scores for participating and comparison group teachers in a quasi-experimental propensity score matched design. Given the strong evidence of impact on teachers and implementation of engineering design lessons by teachers with their students, we have reason to be optimistic that this will reveal positive impact on student learning.

Curtis, R., & Cairns, D., & Bolyard, J., & Loomis, D. L., & Watts, K. L., & Mathew, S., & Carte, M. T. (2016, June), Integrating STEM and Literacy through Engineering Design: Evaluation of Professional Development for Middle School Math and Science Teachers (Program/Curriculum Evaluation) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25410

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