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Systematic Review of the Funds of Knowledge Framework in STEM Education

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Engineering Cultures and Identity

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topics

Diversity and ASEE Diversity Committee

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Paper Authors


Dina Verdin Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Dina Verdín is an Engineering Education graduate student at Purdue University. She completed her undergraduate degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering at San José State University. Her research interest focuses on the first-generation college student population, which includes changing the perspective of this population from a deficit base approach to an asset base approach.

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Allison Godwin Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Allison Godwin, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research focuses what factors influence diverse students to choose engineering and stay in engineering through their careers and how different experiences within the practice and culture of engineering foster or hinder belongingness and identity development. Dr. Godwin graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Ph.D. in Engineering and Science Education. She is the recipient of a 2014 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Educational Research and Methods Division Apprentice Faculty Grant. She also was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow for her work on female empowerment in engineering which won the National Association for Research in Science Teaching 2015 Outstanding Doctoral Research Award.

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Brenda Capobianco Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Brenda M. Capobianco is Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and School of Engineering Education (courtesy) at Purdue University. She holds a B.S. in biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, M.S. in science education from Connecticut Central State University, and Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She teaches elementary science methods and graduate courses in teacher action research and gender and culture in science education. Her research interests include girls’ participation in science and engineering; teacher’s engagement in action research; and science teachers’ integration of the engineering design process to improve science learning.

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This theory paper examines literature on the construct, funds of knowledge, as it has been applied in STEM education, with an emphasis on engineering and explores if and how funds of knowledge has been used to understand first-generation college students in engineering. Using a systematic literature review, we describe how the framework of funds of knowledge has been adopted in the engineering education literature. Funds of knowledge is a conceptual framework that has been concerned with social justice issues around validity and impacts of deficit theorizing (a theory that points to the underachievement of minority groups on perceived deficiencies related to their culture). The funds of knowledge framework suggest that instructors solicit their students’ background experiences and knowledge to enhance their students’ learning. We examine the following questions: 1) How is the funds of knowledge framework being utilized to understand math, science and engineering concepts at the secondary and post-secondary level? and 2) What literature currently exists on funds of knowledge for first-generation college students and first-generation college students in engineering? We examined numerous journal articles, books, magazines and other scholarly published work on funds of knowledge in STEM, indexed in Engineering Village, Scopus, ERIC, Educational Full Text and the ASEE PEER database. This method allowed us to gain a holistic view of how the framework is being applied in the various STEM disciplines.

Verdin, D., & Godwin, A., & Capobianco, B. (2016, June), Systematic Review of the Funds of Knowledge Framework in STEM Education Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25999

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