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Using Factor Analysis to Re-visit the Teaching Design, Engineering, and Technology (DET) Survey

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Assessment and Evaluation of K-12 Engineering Programs

Tagged Divisions

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1616.1 - 22.1616.8



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Paper Authors


Tao Hong Purdue University

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Tao Hong is a Post-doctoral Research Associate in College of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He earned his Ph.D degree in Educational Measurement and Research Methodology at Purdue University. His B.S. degree is in Business Management. His principal research focus is assessment methods in engineering education and service learning program evaluation.

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Senay Purzer Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Senay Purzer is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education and is the Co-Director of Assessment Research for the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) at Purdue University. Purzer has received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Science Education at Arizona State University. She has a B.S. degree in Physics Education and a B.S.E. in Engineering. She has journal publications on instrument development, teacher professional development, and K-12 engineering education. Her creative research focuses on design problem-solving, collaborative learning, and assessment research.

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Monica E. Cardella Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Monica E. Cardella is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education and is the Co-Director of Assessment Research for the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) at Purdue University. Dr. Cardella earned a B.Sc. in Mathematics from the University of Puget Sound and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at the University of Washington. At the University of Washington she worked with the Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching (CELT) and the LIFE Center (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments). She was a CASEE Postdoctoral Engineering Education Researcher at the Center for Design Research at Stanford before beginning her appointment at Purdue. Her research interests include: learning in informal and out-of-school time settings, pre-college engineering education, design thinking, mathematical thinking, and assessment research. Prior to her life in academia, Dr. Cardella taught physical education at a preschool, substitute-taught middle school science and mathematics, and tutored high school students in mathematics and English as a Second Language.

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A Re-Evaluation of the Teaching Design, Engineering, and Technology (DET) Instrument Background and Theoretical FrameworkTeaching design, engineering and technology (DET) is a Likert-scale self-report instrumentdesigned by Yasar and her colleagues (2006) to measure K-12 teachers’ perceptions of andfamiliarity with engineering. Since 2006, we have been using the DET instrument to gain criticalinformation regarding K-12 teachers’ perceptions of engineering and their familiarity withteaching DET. This information has then been used to provide a foundation for effectiveprofessional development for our K-12 teachers. MethodThis study aimed at re-evaluating and refining the DET instrument based on the sample data(N=405) collected from 2006-2010. Specifically, the present study includes: (1) the examinationof the psychometric evidence of the DET instrument (e.g., item analysis) including the reliabilityevidence, (2) exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to refine the factor structure given the newcharacteristics of the participant sample compared to those from the previous research by Yasar,, and (3) comparison of the mean score differences across the following four backgroundvariables: Gender, Years of Teaching, and Ethnicity (Caucasian and non-Caucasian). Thestatistical analysis was completed in SAS using the Proc Mixed command. ResultsResults indicated that the DET instrument showed evidence of acceptable reliability for totalscore and for each factor/subscale score, ranging from 0.77 to 0.91. However, the EFA proposeda slightly different factor structure than in the previous study. Significant mean difference in totalscore was found between male and female respondents. In addition, the Gender variablesignificantly impacted the mean score of the “Importance of DET” factor and three items underthis factor. There was also a significant mean difference based on teaching experience and“Familiarity with DET” factor. The Ethnicity variable played an important role in differentiatingpeople on five individual items, although no significant mean difference was found on factorscores across the two race groups. ConclusionsOur study highlights the importance of a continuous evaluation of instruments in engineeringeducation especially considering the changing populations of teachers and the increasingemphasis on engineering education in K-12 classrooms. ReferencesYaşar, Ş., Baker, D., Robinson-Kurpius, S., Krause, S., and Roberts, C. (2006). Development of a Survey to Assess K-12 Teachers’ Perceptions of Engineers and Familiarity with Teaching Design, Engineering, and Technology, Journal of Engineering Education, 95(3), 205-216.

Hong, T., & Purzer, S., & Cardella, M. E. (2011, June), Using Factor Analysis to Re-visit the Teaching Design, Engineering, and Technology (DET) Survey Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18793

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