June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
24.1102.1 - 24.1102.17
STEM High School: Does four years of high school engineering impact student choices and teacher behavior?K-12 engineering programs are rapidly increasing around the nation, particularly at the highschool level. Integrating opportunities for high school students to repeatedly practice engineeringskills has been suggested to increase students’ interest in pursuing a career in engineering.However, little research exists to show the real impacts on the students’ attitudes towardsengineering and where they end up after high school. Also, as the number of programsincreases, so does the need for qualified teachers to staff those courses (2008 reference here).The majority of K-12 teachers do not have a background in engineering; and more times thannot, they do not know what an engineer does or have knowledge of the different disciplines ofengineering, thusly making it difficult to adequately encourage their students to pursueengineering as a career (2001 reference here). One challenge for schools wanting to betterimplement the “E” in STEM is the training of teachers required to effectively teach engineeringin the classroom.The XX high school STEM Academy program was implemented at a large, Midwesternsuburban high school in the U.S. to provide a program for students to gain up to four years ofengineering-related experience as part of their daily school curriculum. The courses in thisprogram are taught by teachers who have worked with engineering faculty at their localUniversity to both develop hands-on, design-based engineering classes and to learn how tosuccessfully teach engineering concepts and principles to students (2012 reference here). In thispaper, 37 students who completed engineering courses in the STEM Academy program over fouryears of high school are examined. Data is analyzed from multiple sources, including semestersurveys that provide an in-depth look at students’ changing interests and attitudes towardsengineering over four years in the Academy, retention rates of students in the program, andwhere these students are studying one year post-graduation. In addition, the three STEMAcademy teachers who taught this group of students over four years provide valuable input tothis paper. Their thoughts on their students’ growth and progress, as well as their opinions of theSTEM Academy’s progression and effectiveness, are evaluated. Lastly, this paper looks at theteachers’ perception of their own preparedness in teaching and guiding students in engineering-related courses.Specifically, this paper addresses the following question, “Does four years of engineeringeducation at the high school level, when taught by qualified teachers, significantly increasestudents’ interests and attitudes towards engineering, as well as increase the amount of studentswho choose to pursue an engineering-related path after high school?” This paper seeks to revealhow an integrated four-year engineering program in high school impacts students over multipleyears, as well as gives insight into the effectiveness of this kind of program when taught byteachers of varying backgrounds trained in partnership with their local university.
Zarske, M. S., & Gallipo, M. J., & Yowell, J. L., & Reamon, D. T. (2014, June), STEM High School: Do Multiple Years of High School Engineering Impact Student Choices and Teacher Instruction? Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/23035
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