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Teachers' Attempts Assessing Middle School Engineering Design Work

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Addressing the NGSS, Part 1 of 3: Supporting K-8 Science Teachers in Engineering Pedagogy and Engineering-Science Connections

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1155.1 - 24.1155.13



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Paper Authors


Morgan M. Hynes Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Morgan Hynes is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Ph.D. in Engineering Education (both at Tufts University). In his research, Hynes explores the use of engineering to integrate academic subjects in K-12 classrooms. From close observations of classroom teaching and learning, he studies how students come to understand what engineering is and how learners conceptualize and engage in engineering and design. Specific research interests include design metacognition among learners of all ages; the knowledge base for teaching K-12 STEM through engineering; the relationships among the attitudes, beliefs, motivation, cognitive skills, and engineering skills of K-16+ engineering learners; and teaching engineering.

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Tamara J. Moore Purdue University Orcid 16x16

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Tamara J. Moore, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Dr. Moore’s research is centered on the integration of STEM concepts in K-12 and higher education mathematics, science, and engineering classrooms in order to help students make connections among the STEM disciplines and achieve deep understanding. Her research agenda focuses on defining STEM integration and investigating its power for student learning. She is creating and testing innovative, interdisciplinary curricular approaches that engage students in developing models of real world problems and their solutions. Her research also involves working with educators to shift their expectations and instructional practice to facilitate effective STEM integration. Tamara is the recipient of a 2012 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) for her work on STEM integration with underrepresented minority and underprivileged urban K-12 students.

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Senay Purzer Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Şenay Purzer an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. In 2011, she received a NSF CAREER award, which examines how engineering students approach innovation. She is also a NAE/CASEE New Faculty Fellow. Purzer conducts research on aspects of design education such as innovativeness and information literacy.

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Teachers’ First Attempts Assessing Middle School Engineering Design WorkEngineering has made its way into many K-12 classrooms over the past ten years.Teachers are asked to teach engineering through engaging engineering design projectswith little (i.e., daylong to weeklong professional development workshops) to nopreparation or background knowledge in engineering. Even with limited preparationmany teachers do quite well implementing exciting engineering activities leading to highquality final prototypes from their students. However, assessment remains to be an areathat is under-emphasized in professional development activities. Assessing the students’final engineering work can pose many challenges as the work is often completed inteams, takes many differing forms across the class, and does not consist of “right”answers. However, professional development opportunities often focus on the seeminglymore pressing issues of providing teachers the necessary background engineeringknowledge and specific curriculum knowledge such that teachers can begin teachingengineering. The study presented in this paper investigated six middle school teachers as theyembarked on teaching an approximately 15-hour engineering design curriculumfollowing a one-week professional development workshop. The goal of the study was tounderstand the various types of teacher knowledge the teachers used and developed overthe course of implementing and engineering design curriculum. The data presented comesfrom one-on-one interviews (each approximately 20 minutes in length) with the teacherswhere they were asked to talk about designing a rubric for their students’ final projects.They were then asked to apply this rubric to a few sample projects from their class. Thedata reveal common themes or features the teachers focused on in their design of therubric. The teachers initially focused on team and process-oriented features (e.g.,teamwork, organization, steps of design process) and how well the final solution worked.The teachers tended to focus less on knowledge-oriented features relating to theapplication of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) principles asthey developed their rubrics. As the teachers applied their newly developed rubrics totheir students’ final projects, they focused on surface features of teamwork and processand struggled to identify the specific technical accomplishments of the teams’ work. Theconclusion includes implications and future research work related to developing teachers’engineering project assessment skills and knowledge.

Hynes, M. M., & Moore, T. J., & Purzer, S. (2014, June), Teachers' Attempts Assessing Middle School Engineering Design Work Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23088

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015