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Parents’ Concerns About the Inclusion of Engineering Education in P-12 Classrooms

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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

Factors Impacting Engineering Career Choices, Including Engaging Families

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1025.1 - 25.1025.17



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Paper Authors


Juyeon Y. Kluin Purdue University

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Juyeon Kluin is a Research Associate at the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) at Purdue University's School of Engineering Education. For the past three years,Kluin has researched in the followings: assessment, motivation theory in learning, parents' role in engineering education, and measurement issues in educational research.

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Monica E. Cardella Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Monica E. Cardella is an Assistant Professor of engineering education at Purdue University and is the Director for Informal Learning Environments Research for INSPIRE (the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning). She was previously the Director of Assessment Research for INSPIRE. Her research interests include children's early engineering interests, parents' roles in pre-college engineering education, informal learning environments for engineering learning, and engineering design thinking.

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Parents’ Concerns about the Inclusion of Engineering Education in P-12 ClassroomsAbstract There has been much interest and effort put into bringing engineering education into pre-kindergarten through 12th (P-12) grade classrooms. This is not only because engineering hasbeen shown to facilitate learning in other courses, such as science and mathematics, but alsobecause it stimulates students’ interests in engineering and ultimately plays an important role inrecruiting future engineers. At the same time, it is clear that students are influenced by factors intheir surrounding environment; among these factors, parents/caregivers are one of the strongestinfluences in forming students’ interests in learning and their perceptions of engineering. To thisend, this study seeks to investigate parents’ concerns and suggestions regarding the inclusion ofengineering education in P-12 classrooms. We conducted semi-structured interviews with parents/caregivers (N=10), from a widerange of geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, who have children currently in P-12grades to inform the design of an instrument to investigate parents’ perceptions of P-12engineering education. Results from the interviews were used to refine the survey questions.Sixty-nine parents/caregivers then participated in the survey and shared their thoughts about theinclusion of engineering education in their children’s classrooms. The interviews and surveywere used to investigate four main research questions: a) Are parents aware of any P-12classrooms including engineering related activities? b) What kinds of concerns or suggestionsdo parents have regarding the inclusion of engineering in P-12 classrooms? c) Are parentsinterested in receiving any information regarding engineering education for their children? d) Ifyes, by what means do they prefer to receive that information? The data from interview transcripts and written survey responses was systematicallyanalyzed through both quantitative and qualitative content analysis. In particular, a summativecontent analysis approach using manifest content analysis, rather than latent content analysis,was selected due to the characteristics of the data. Manifest content analysis refers to analyzing aparticular word or content by counting the usage frequency of that keyword or content, whilelatent content analysis focuses on underlying meanings of the words or the content. The resultsshow that parents/caregivers are primarily concerned with teachers’ ability to teach engineeringto their students. Parents/caregivers also suggested engineering pedagogy that is integrated intoexisting courses, because they wish engineering to not add any burdens to their children atschool. The work presented in this paper has many implications. Not only does this studyprovide further insights into parents/caregivers’ perceptions regarding engineering educationinclusion in classrooms, but it also provides examples of both quantitative and qualitative contentanalysis approaches.

Kluin, J. Y., & Cardella, M. E. (2012, June), Parents’ Concerns About the Inclusion of Engineering Education in P-12 Classrooms Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21782

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