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Measuring the Impact of an Elementary School Outreach Program on Students' Attitudes Toward Mathematics and Science

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Focus on Elementary

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.924.1 - 25.924.10



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Paper Authors


Kelly L. Lundstrom Colorado School of Mines

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Kelly L. Lundstrom is a graduate student at Colorado School of Mines, seeking a master's degree in applied statistics. She is interested in research relating to educational assessment, and she is a Teaching Fellow in the Bechtel K-5 Educational Excellence Initiative.

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Barbara M. Moskal Colorado School of Mines

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Barbatra M. Moskal, Ed.D., is a professor of applied mathematics and statistics and the Director of the Trefny Institute of Educational Innovation at the Colorado School of Mines. Her research interests include measurement, evaluation, increasing diversity, and K-12 outreach in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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Measuring the Impact of an Elementary School Outreach Program on Students’ Attitudes Toward Mathematics and ScienceIt is well known and documented that students in the United States are performing poorly inmathematics and science when compared with students from other countries. Yet, theadvancement of our technology rich society requires that students develop advanced skills inthese subjects by the conclusion of their formal education. Students’ attitudes with respect tomathematics and science are known to be developed at a young age and become entrenched bymiddle school. Furthermore, female and minority students typically develop more negativeattitudes toward these subjects than do their male, Caucasian peers. In an effort to encourageyoung students to eventually pursue engineering as a career, an engineering outreach programhas been developed and implemented in five minority elementary schools, each including gradeskindergarten through fifth. Participating teachers attend a two-week summer workshop thataddresses elementary mathematics and science through its applications to engineering concepts.Science and engineering graduate students then provide weekly classroom support to the teachersthroughout the academic year. The impact of this program is being measured through theadministration of an attitudes survey in mathematics and science. This instrument was developedin-house and prior articles provide evidence of its validity and reliability for the kindergartenthrough fifth grade population. The instrument is available in two languages, English andSpanish, and is read aloud to the participating students in both languages. Additionally, youngstudents can respond to this instrument because the response categories require that they circleeither a smiley or frowny face. The proposed paper will explain our program and compare theattitudes of students whose classrooms are part of the program to those that are not currentlyparticipating but are within the same district. Analyses will also be completed on the differencesthat are found in female and minority students’ attitudes when compared to their Caucasian malecounterparts with respect to mathematics and science. The data used to complete these analysesare 245 attitudes surveys, 170 of which are from elementary students who are part of theprogram and 75 of which are from elementary students who are not currently participating butare within the same district.

Lundstrom, K. L., & Moskal, B. M. (2012, June), Measuring the Impact of an Elementary School Outreach Program on Students' Attitudes Toward Mathematics and Science Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21681

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