June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering and Educational Research and Methods
22.1052.1 - 22.1052.15
Measuring the Effects of Integrating Engineering into the Elementary School Curriculum on Students’ Science and Engineering Design Content KnowledgePurpose. The purpose of this study was to measure and assess the impact of a year-long teacherprofessional development program to prepare teachers to integrate engineering into theirclassrooms using an Engineering is Elementary (EiE) unit supplemented with other engineeringactivities. Engineering is not commonly taught at the K-12 level and as such there is minimalresearch on student learning outcomes, including instruments to measure the potential knowledgegains of a K-12 engineering curriculum.Participants and Instrument. Participants were 386 students in grades 2-4 from one schooldistrict in the south-central United States taking part in the study during the 2008-09 school year.The student knowledge tests contained a total of 11 questions (2nd grade), 10 questions (3rdgrade), and 16 questions (4th grade) organized into three domains of knowledge: science relatedcontent, engineering design process, and the work of an engineer. The tests were composed ofdevelopmentally appropriate multiple-choice and open-ended items that probe for different levelsof comprehension using low, medium, and high cognitive demand items. Items were generatedby members of the research team including STEM faculty, research assistants, and elementaryeducators. Science content items from national and state-wide educational performanceassessments were used. Items from state-wide assessments were used to ensure consistency inlanguage and cognitive development. Engineering items were modeled after EiE unit assessmentitems.Analysis. Item analysis was conducted to determine internal consistency reliability for the postknowledge test items for each subscale. To determine whether several variables (includingtreatment/control group, sex, Title 1 status, and ethnicity) had any effect on students’ knowledgescores, an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) test with the post engineering questions as thedependent variable and the pre engineering items as the covariate was carried out for each gradelevel.Results. Internal consistency reliability was adequate for all of the test items for each gradelevel, respectively (α = .87, α = .69, α = .73). However, the individual subscales of engineeringand technology showed inadequate reliability, possibly because there were too few items. Forthis reason, the student knowledge items were combined.While there were no significant differences between 2nd grade treatment and control groups,there were statistically significant effects (p < .05) of treatment group on 3rd and 4th gradestudents’ total knowledge scores (Figure 1). More specifically, for 3rd grade knowledge testscores, students who were in the treatment group achieved increased scores (adjusted mean =0.67) as compared with students in the control group (adjusted mean = 0.46). For 4th gradeknowledge test scores, students who were in the treatment group achieved increased scores(adjusted mean = 0.67) as compared with students in the control group (adjusted mean = 0.56).Implications. Implications include redesign of the student knowledge test for academic year2009-10, including more items for engineering and technology subscales to improve reliability.Additional implications include support for the use of engineering as an integrative context forscience and engineering learning in K-12 classrooms.Figure 1 Post Adjusted Means on Knowledge Scores for Treatment and Control Groups 1 0.8 0.6 Treatment 0.4 Control 0.2 0 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4Note. Scale is from 0 to 1.
Dyehouse, M., & Diefes-Dux, H. A., & Capobianco, B. (2011, June), Measuring the Effects of Integrating Engineering into the Elementary School Curriculum on Students’ Science and Engineering Design Content Knowledge Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18333
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: © 2011 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