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National Survey of States’ P-12 Engineering Standards

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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

Core Concepts, Standards, and Policy in K-12 Engineering Education

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1095.1 - 22.1095.46



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Paper Authors


Johannes Strobel Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Johannes Strobel is Director of INSPIRE, Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning and Assistant Professor of Engineering Education & Educational Technology at Purdue University. After studying philosophy, religious studies and information science at three universities in Germany, he received his M.Ed. and Ph.D. (2004) in Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri-Columbia, USA. NSF, SSHRC, FQRSC, and several private foundations fund his research. His research and teaching focuses on the intersection between learning, engineering, the social sciences, and technology, particularly sustainability, designing open-ended problem/project-based learning environments, social computing/gaming applications for education, and problem solving in ill-structured/complex domains.

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Ronald L. Carr Purdue University

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Ronald Carr is a Master’s and Ph.D. student in the Purdue University College of
Education. He is currently completing his M.S. in Educational Studies/Gifted & Talented and working towards a Ph.D. in Learning Design and Technology. He currently works as a research
assistant for the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE).

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Nilson E. Martinez-Lopez Purdue University

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Nilson Martinez-Lopez is an undergraduate student in the Purdue University College of Engineering. He is persuing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. He currently works as a Research Assistant at the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning. He is a member of the Purdue Society of Mexican-American Engineers and Scientists.

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Jose Daniel Bravo INSPIRE

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Daniel is studying Aeronautical Engineering at Purdue University and is an undergraduate researcher for the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE). He is the treasurer for Purdue FIRST Programs which promotes engineering from elementary to the high school levels.

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National Survey of States’ P-12 Engineering StandardsIn the US, the last decade saw a tremendous growth in support for STEM (Science, Technology,Engineering, and Mathematics) education: The federal government initiated a series of new andstronger endowed research programs through its National Science Foundation (NSF), teachereducation saw new programs to alleviate the transition of scientists and engineers to becometeachers, and new curricula are experimenting with different ways to strengthen STEM fromelementary to high school levels. A large area of new curricula is engineering-inspired and in thelast years, the amount of engineering curricula is dramatically increasing (Brophy et al., 2008),each curricula providing definitions of engineering through their design. Compared to scienceand mathematics education, pre-college engineering is still in its infancy, yet recent publicationsset the stage for further development: In 2009, The US National Academy of Engineeringpublished a report on K-12 Engineering Education and just released an additional report on K-12Engineering Standards.In the “Engineering in K-12 Education” report, the National Academy of Engineering and theNational Research Council declare that no engineering standards exist in K-12 education (2009,p. 2), yet several states provide engineering standards or move into such a direction. Thisproject's purpose was to assess to what extent state standards contain engineering already withtwo purposes: (1) demonstrating the variety of engineering integration and (2) providing data,which can support the further integration. The research team analyzed science, mathematics,technology/design and vocational standards of all fifty states following a rubric adapted fromexisting work on national standards (Purzer & Cardella, 2009).Survey of the educational standards of all fifty states shows that, in fact, many states haveexplicitly stated engineering standards or engineering standards integrated into science andtechnology standards. Eleven states (Massachusetts, New Jersey, Minnesota, New Hampshire,Washington, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and Illinois) havepurposely integrated engineering into their state standards. Rare instances of engineering can befound embedded throughout other states’ standards in that they touch upon some aspect ofengineering, design, technology evolution, optimization, modeling and creating processes orexamination of materials to determine their usefulness in meeting a given need or solving aproblem.This survey intends to be a resource for others that are working to integrate engineering intoeducational standards in state and national levels by the building of a database of engineeringstandards. We also look at the importance of integrating engineering standards for K-12education as the first step in creating and implementing strong curricula, assessments andproviding professional development. The adoption of engineering standards have helped to buildthe support from key stakeholders, which in turn has led to the creation of teacher training,garnered support and funding from legislatures and can encourage textbook companies to get onboard.

Strobel, J., & Carr, R. L., & Martinez-Lopez, N. E., & Bravo, J. D. (2011, June), National Survey of States’ P-12 Engineering Standards Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18779

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