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Professional Development Training That Makes Project Lead The Way Teachers More Knowledgeable and Confident Instructors (Evaluation)

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Evaluation: Exploring the Impact of Programs for K-12 Teachers.

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1259.1 - 26.1259.24



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Paper Authors


Laura E. LeMire The Community College of Baltimore County

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Upon graduation from the University of Maryland, College Park with her masters in geotechnical engineering, Laura went to work for Baltimore Gas and Electric where during her career there she was responsible for substation and transmission line construction projects, relocation and installation of BGE facilities for Oriole Park at Camden Yards and for the Light Rail, and for improving service reliability. After obtaining her MBA, Laura became the Director of Corporate Purchasing and was a financial analyst in Investor Relations. Laura left the utility to become the Director of Women’s Sports at STX, Inc., a sporting goods manufacturer where she became the holder of four patents. Returning to the classroom once again, Laura obtained a Masters in environmental engineering from UMBC and became an Affiliate Professor for Project Lead The Way. Laura is now the Engineering Department Chair at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) where she has built an engineering technology program and doubled the size of the engineering transfer program by stimulating interest in high school students, training PLTW teachers, and obtaining scholarships to help students cope with the expense of college. In addition, she is the PI on three NSF grants In her spare time, Laura continues her pursuit of athletics, toils in her garden, and travels the world.

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Professional Development Training That Makes Project Lead The Way Teachers More Knowledgeable and Confident Instructors (Evaluation) After providing professional development training to Project Lead The Way (PLTW)teachers for as many as seven years, enrollment continues to be strong in [state] and in otherstates that replicated The Community College ____________ model. [The CommunityCollege’s] training program was developed in response to requests by PLTW teachers and schooladministrators for additional training and has been offered since Fall 2007. With support fromthe National Science Foundation, a train-the-trainer program was designed and put in place toimplement the [state] professional development training model in other parts of the country.Beginning in Fall 2010, the [state] Coordinator and content experts trained and collaborated withtheir counterparts from eight PLTW Affiliate Universities across the country, gathering input andfeedback on lesson plans, assessments, and frequency of training. As changes were made in thePLTW curriculum, materials were developed for new subject matter, including changes to theDE platform to myDAQ Digital MiniSystem (DMS) and the Parallax DE Sensor Kit withArduino. The full day training sessions, which reinforce and build on knowledge gained duringPLTW summer core training programs, are designed to build teacher confidence and to makethem better instructors. Learning a new software package or technical material such asAutodesk Inventor, VEX with ROBOTC, Autodesk Revit, digital electronics and civilengineering topics in an intensive two week period is challenging. Although PLTW providesassistance to teachers through the Virtual Academy, results from the professional developmentsessions show that teachers experience substantial gains in knowledge and confidence fromattending the face-to-face training sessions with expert trainers. For each training session,teachers were required to take a pre- and post-assessment as well as complete a survey to gatherdata and document the success of the program. Between Fall 2010 and Spring 2014, a total of163 training sessions were conducted in nine states with an attendance of 1,567 teachers(teachers were counted each time they attended a session). The results for 2013-2014 weresimilar to previous years with the greatest pre-to-post increase on a 100 point scale occuring inCivil Engineering (+41 points), followed by Inventor Level 2 (+ 35 points), Inventor Level 3(+34 points), VEX Sessions 1 and 2 (+33 points), Digital Electronics – Sequential Logic (+31points), Inventor Level 1 (+29 points), Digital Electronics - Combinational Logic (+27) andRevit (+22 points). Across all sessions, the mean of the pre-assessment cohort scores rangedfrom a low of 35 for Civil Engineering to a high of 63 for Revit. The means for the remainingsessions were 52 to 58. Of the teachers attending the training, 71% were male and 29% werefemale; 74% were high school teachers and 26% were middle school teachers.

LeMire, L. E. (2015, June), Professional Development Training That Makes Project Lead The Way Teachers More Knowledgeable and Confident Instructors (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24596

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