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Metrics for Efficacy in FIRST Robotics Programs: Aligning ABET Engineering Student Outcomes with K-12 STEM Educational Practices

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Robotics in Pre-K-12 Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


Shawna Fletcher Texas A&M University

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SHAWNA L. FLETCHER is Director of the Women in Engineering Program at Texas A&M University and has held similar positions at Arizona State University (1997-2007) and The Ohio State University (2011-2015). Fletcher has been President of the Arizona Promoters of Applied Science in Education (APASE) since 2006, a non-profit organization that has hosted the National Underwater Robotics Challenge (2007 - 2013). She holds an M.S degree in Bioengineering and B.S. degrees in Physiological Psychology and Microbiology from Arizona State University. Since 1997, she has been dedicated to engineering recruitment/retention programs and K-12 STEM educational efforts in Arizona, Ohio and Texas. Her primary responsibilities include outreach, retention and placement programs for women in the College of Engineering.

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Susan Haag

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Dr Haag has 15 years of experience implementing and researching STEM programs using a mixed method approach.
Dr Haag served as director of assessment and accreditation in the school of Engineering for over 10 years.
Her expertise includes Research in middle school- graduate school in STEM.

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Robotics programs for youth are critical to the nation’s overall science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) development. However, little research has focused on broader impacts and efficacy of national robotics initiatives. Metrics for standardizing assessment have not been established. Currently, evaluation practices among K-12 STEM programs or FIRST® robotics impact reports have done little to align with national post-secondary educational practices. To understand their long-term impact, it is essential that K-12 STEM education programs, especially robotics, begin to utilize standard assessment and evaluation practices that align with college and career readiness outcomes. Since 2007, researchers in Arizona have been evaluating and assessing FIRST® robotics programs across the state. The purpose of evaluation was to indicate the 1) overall success and program impact on students, teachers and mentors; 2) the impact of hands-on learning to interest students in STEM subjects; 3) the impact of developing workplace skills that can be transferred to the classroom; and 4) impact on career choice. In addition to compiling data to understand increasing students' technical skills, research methods embedded ABET student outcomes in the assessment of AZ FIRST® programs. This paper will present an overview of FIRST programs and use excerpts from seven years of compiled research (2007–2013) to expose trends in previous assessment of AZ FIRST® robotics initiatives. Methods used to assess broader impacts of FIRST® robotics programs and their significance when mapped to ABET student outcomes will be discussed.

Fletcher, S., & Haag, S. (2016, June), Metrics for Efficacy in FIRST Robotics Programs: Aligning ABET Engineering Student Outcomes with K-12 STEM Educational Practices Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25714

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