June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Educational Research and Methods
26.1236.1 - 26.1236.12
Practicing Civil Engineers’ Understanding of Statics Concept Inventory QuestionsBackgroundEngineering concept inventories have been broadly used to assess student conceptual knowledgeand evaluate the effectiveness of educational innovations. Concept inventory questions weredeveloped to isolate concepts and typically include common misconceptions as possibleincorrect answers. Situated cognition theory may suggest that knowledge is an interactionbetween the individual and the context and that isolated concepts may be of little value to solvecontextual engineering problems. We began to test this proposition by implementing the staticsconcept inventory to practicing civil engineers.PurposeThe purpose of this research is to gather data on practicing civil engineers’ performance on thestatics concept inventory: how confident respondents were in their answers and whether theythought the concepts as presented in the statics concept inventory were relevant and important totheir work.Design/MethodThe statics concept inventory, implemented as an online survey, collected responses frompracticing engineers. Along with the questions from the concept inventory the engineers werealso asked to rate two other items on a scale of 1-10: how confident they were in their answerand whether the concept is relevant and important to their work.ResultsThere were 25 participants, all of whom were practicing civil engineers. The average number ofyears of experience was 11.4 yrs. The participants, on average, answered 13 questions (out of 27questions) correctly or a score of about 50%. The average self-reported level of confidence foreach participant was 5.5 out of 10 (min = 4.4, max = 10). The average rating for conceptrelevance was 4.4 out of 10 (min =2.2, max=7.2).ConclusionOur results provide insights into the statics concepts that professional civil engineersconceptualize correctly. Although the data set is not necessarily indicative of the largercommunity of professional engineers, it provides early evidence that not all concepts from thestatics concept inventory may be relevant for practicing civil engineers. More research is neededto understand how and why academic concepts are important to civil engineering practice.
Urlacher, M. A., & Brown, S. A., & Steif, P. S., & Bornasal, F. B. (2015, June), Practicing Civil Engineers’ Understanding of Statics Concept Inventory Questions Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24573
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