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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? Appendix B1 Commissioned Papers 1 The commissioned papers have been lightly edited to remove spelling and other typographical errors but are otherwise the authors’ original work.
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? K–12 ENGINEERING EDUCATION STANDARDS: OPPORTUNITIES AND BARRIERS A Presentation for the Workshop on Standards for K–12 Engineering Education National Academy of Engineering Keck Center of the National Academies Rodger W. Bybee Executive Director (Emeritus) Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS)
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? 8 July 2009 Washington, DC STANDARDS FOR K–12 ENGINEERING EDUCATION: OPPORTUNITIES AND BARRIERS Rodger W. Bybee Introduction Does the nation need standards for K–12 engineering education? The answer to this question is paradoxically both simple and complex. It requires an examination of a rationale for such standards as well as of opportunities and barriers to developing and implementing them. The Idea of Standards A contemporary agreement among 46 states to join forces and create common academic standards in math and English language arts makes it clear that the idea of standards has an overwhelming appeal to policy makers. National standards also have an unimaginable complexity for the educators responsible for “implementing” them (Bybee and Ferrini-Mundy, 1997; DeBoer, 2006; NRC, 2002). The current understanding of standards derives from the original meaning of a standard as “a rallying point for an army” which evolved to an “exemplar of measure or weight” to a statement of “correctness or perfection” and finally to a “level of excellence.” The primary functions of an educational standard are to rally support, increase coherence, and measure attainment. All of these functions require political persuasion, psychometric precision, and practical applications. In the end, setting standards, such as those being considered for K–12 engineering education, will require securing the allegiance of a broad constituency, addressing programmatic concerns beyond policy (e.g., school programs and teaching practices), and implementing an assessment system that is manageable and understandable to educators and the public. Standards for education are statements about purposes, priorities, and goals (Hiebert, 1999). In engineering education, standards would be value judgments about what our students should know and be able to do. Education standards should be developed through a complex process informed by societal expectations, past practices, research information, and visions of professionals in associated fields (e.g., engineering and education). Before we go further, several terms should be clarified. In general, discussions of academic standards and current considerations of engineering education standards refer to CONTENT STANDARDS—learning outcomes described as knowledge and abilities in a subject area. For example, students should learn concepts, such as systems, optimization, and feedback;
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? they should develop abilities in engineering design and habits of mind. Content standards are different from other standards, such as performance standards, professional development standards, and teaching standards (see Table 1). Table 1 Some Terms Used in Standards-Based Reform CONTENT STANDARDS. A description of the knowledge and skills students are expected to learn by the end of their schooling in a certain subject. Content standards describe learning outcomes, but they are not instructional materials (i.e., lessons, classes, courses of study, or school programs). CURRICULUM. The way content is delivered. Curriculum includes the structure, organization, balance, and presentation of content in the classroom. PERFORMANCE STANDARDS. A description of the form and function of achievement that serves as evidence that students have learned, usually described in relation to content standards. Performance standards sometimes identify levels of achievement (e.g., basic, proficient, advanced) for content standards. TEACHING STANDARDS. Descriptions of the educational experiences provided by teachers, textbooks, and technology. Teaching standards should indicate the quality of instruction for students and may emphasize unique features, such as design experiences in engineering and the use of integrated instructional sequences. The History of the Idea of Education Standards More than a century ago, the Committee of Ten, a working group of educators assembled to standardize the American high school curriculum, recommended college admissions requirements, including that students had some experience in a science laboratory. The committee’s report influenced numerous programs and practices in the nation’s schools (DeBoer, 1991; Sizer, 1964). One example is especially relevant to national standards. The report was the impetus for the development of the Harvard Descriptive List, a description of experiments in physics to be used as part of the admission requirements for the college. Students applying to Harvard would be required to complete 40 experiments and a written test about the experiments and principles of physics. The point is that the Harvard Descriptive List meets the definition of an educational standard, a combination of content and teaching standards. Since the late 1800s, numerous policies, generally in the form of committee reports, have described what are now referred to as educational standards, including standards for science. Technology and engineering were almost never mentioned. However, in recent decades, technology has often been (incorrectly) referred to as applied science. In the late 1980s, in the latter years of the “Sputnik era,” a new stage of education emerged, which can be characterized as the “standards era.” The likely origin of this era is the 1983 report of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, A Nation at Risk. Two recommendations from that report set the stage for the development of educational standards: (1) strengthening the content of the core curriculum; and (2) raising expectations by using measurable standards. The report described course requirements in five core subjects—English,
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? mathematics, science, social studies, and computer science—for high school graduation. To state the obvious, neither technology nor engineering was among the core subjects. In 1989, then President George H.W. Bush and a group of governors (including Bill Clinton) met in Charlottesville, Virginia, for an Education Summit, the outcomes of which included National Education Goals, which led directly led to initiatives for voluntary national standards in each core subject. In the same year, 1989, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics published Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM, 1989), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science published Science for All Americans (AAAS, 1989). Both publications provided leadership for standards-based reform. Still, as Paul DeHart Hurd argued, standards are fine, but they are not a reinvention (Hurd, 1999) The basic idea of standards-based reform was to establish clear, coherent, and challenging content as learning outcomes for K–12 education. The assumption was that voluntary national standards would be used by state education departments and local jurisdictions to select educational programs, instructional practices, and assessments that would help students meet the standards. An additional assumption was that undergraduate teacher education and professional development for classroom teachers would also be aligned with the standards. The basic idea may sound reasonable, but in reality it did not work as envisioned. As a result of the many independent decisions about teacher preparation, textbooks, tests, and teaching, the proposed national standards had less influence than desired (NRC, 2002). This said, the standards for science (NRC, 1996) have had a positive influence on the educational system, especially on state standards and curriculum materials (DeBoer, 2006). The Emergence of the Idea of K–12 Engineering Standards Based on Science for All Americans (AAAS, 1989), in 1993 the AAAS published Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy, and in 1996 the National Research Council published National Science Education Standards. These three documents include recommendations and standards related to engineering and technology. For example, Science for All Americans set the stage for increased recognition of engineering education with discussions of “Engineering Combines Scientific Inquiry and Practical Values” and “The Essence of Engineering Is Design Under Constraint” (AAAS, 1989, pp. 40–41). The International Technology Education Association (ITEA) published Standards for Technological Literacy in 2000. An important point about these standards is that they paid substantial attention to the idea of engineering design and underwent a thorough review and subsequent revision by the National Research Council with input and criticism from the National Academy of Engineering. In the two decades since 1989, the idea of national standards for education has been widely recognized as important, if not essential, and is increasingly being accepted by most policy makers and educators. Purposes of National Standards Before turning to a specific discussion of K–12 engineering education standards, I present my reflections and opinions based on more than a decade of experience with the National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1996). My work on these standards began in 1992 as a member (and later chair) of the Content Working Group. In 1995, I became executive director of the Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education at the National Academies,
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? where I worked on completing and disseminating the Standards until 1999, when I returned to working on the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS). At BSCS we used the standards as the content and pedagogical foundation for curriculum materials and professional development. So my experiences with standards have included the perspectives on policy, program, and practice. For those interested, Angelo Collins has provided an excellent history of the national science education standards (Collins, 1995). Also worth noting is the October 1997 issue of School Science and Mathematics, a theme issue for which my colleague, Joan Ferrini-Mundy, and I served as guest editors. First and foremost, the power of national standards is their potential capacity to change the fundamental components of the education system on a scale that will make a difference. Very few things have the capacity to change curriculum, instruction, assessment, and the professional education of teachers. National standards are on the short list of things that could initiate system-wide changes on a significant scale. To the degree that various agencies, organizations, institutions, and districts embrace national standards, they have the potential to increase coherence and unity among state frameworks, criteria for the adoption of instructional materials, state assessments, and other resources. Early in my work, I realized that there were several ways standards might affect the system, for example, in the teaching of biological evolution. First, including content such as biological evolution in national standards would affect the content in state and local science education standards. A review by Education Week (9 November 2005) found that a majority of states (39) included some description of evolution in their science standards. Second, national standards can promote feedback within education systems. Using the science education standards as a basis for the review by Education Week provided insights into which states did not mention evolution. The review also indicated the significant variations in the presentation of evolution, a major finding. Here is an example of my third point, that standards can be used to define the limits of acceptable content. When Kansas recently planned to adopt state standards that would promote nonscientific alternatives to evolution and liberally borrowed from the Standards and National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) publications, both organizations denied Kansas the right to use any of their material in its new standards (Science, 4 November 2005). Fourth, standards influence the entire educational system because they both are input and define output. To identify and define output, we ask, “What should all students know, value, and be able to do?” The history of education has primarily focused on inputs with the hope of improving outputs—especially student learning. For example, we change the length of school years, courses, textbooks, educational technologies, and teaching techniques. All such inputs are meant to enhance learning, but they have been inconsistent, not directed toward a common purpose, and centered on different aspects of the educational system. In other words, they have not been coherently focused on common outcomes. The lack of coherence is clear in many contemporary analyses of the relationships among curriculum instruction, assessment, and professional development. Fifth, national standards are policies for all students. By their very nature, national standards embrace equity. In the decade since the release of the standards, many individuals have asked me if we really meant all students. The answer is—yes. Of course, there are always exceptions (e.g., severely developmentally disabled students) that prove the rule. But the Standards are explicit statements of equity. While developing the Standards, we clearly understood that many aspects of the education system would have to change to accommodate the
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? changes they implied. For example, resources would have to be reallocated to increase the achievement level of the students most in need. Have the Standards changed the fundamental components of the educational system and achieved equity? No. But you will notice that I indicated they had the potential to do so. I would also note that this nation has not achieved equal justice for all, but we hold this as an important goal, one that we do not plan to change because it has not yet been achieved. A Rationale for National Standards in Engineering Education The justification for developing standards for engineering education rests on a foundation that includes both societal and educational perspectives. I begin with the societal perspective by looking first at history, in particular the 20th century. One stunning example supports the case for engineering education standards. In late 1999, the Newseum, a journalism museum then located in Virginia, conducted a survey of American historians and journalists to determine the top 100 news stories of the 20th century. As I read the list, I was surprised that of the top 100 headlines, more than 40 percent were directly related to engineering and technology. This ranking of news stories seems to justify increasing the emphasis on engineering education and technological literacy, because they reflect what the public reads, hears, and values. The high percentage of engineering-related news events is rivaled only by political events, many of which also indirectly involved engineering. Table 2 lists the engineering-related events (modified to include only stories with a direct component of engineering or technology). Each selection in Table 2 meets one of these criteria: (1) the story clearly is about engineering/technology; (2) the story has clear connections to engineering/technology; or (3) the story forecasts a future application for engineering/technology. As an interesting aside, in completing this analysis, I realized that nearly all of the headlines had some connection to engineering/technology. Although some might debate particular selections, it would be difficult to argue with the general conclusion that a significant percentage of important events in the 20th century were clearly and directly related to engineering/technology. In the early years of the 21st century, I see no reason to predict fewer of those stories, and I think it reasonable to suggest that there will be more. The justification for promoting engineering and technology education seems clear.
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? Table 2 Engineering/Technology-Related News Stories of the 20th Century* Engineering/Technology Top 100 Ranking Ranking Year Headline 1 1 1945 U.S. drops Atomic bombs on Hiroshima, Nagasaki: Japan surrenders to end World War II 2 2 1969 American astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first human to walk on the moon 3 3 1941 Japan bombs Pearl Harbor: U.S. enters World War II 4 4 1903 Wilbur and Orville Wright fly the first powered airplane 5 11 1928 Alexander Fleming discovers the first antibiotic, penicillin 6 12 1953 Structure of DNA discovered 7 17 1913 Henry Ford organizes the first major U.S. assembly line to produce Model T cars 8 18 1957 Soviets launch Sputnik, first space satellite: space race begins 9 20 1960 FDA approves birth control pill 10 21 1953 Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine proven effective in University of Pittsburgh tests 11 25 1981 Deadly AIDS disease identified 12 28 1939 Television debuts in America at New York World’s Fair 13 30 1927 Charles Lindbergh crosses the Atlantic in first solo flight 14 31 1977 First mass market personal computers launched 15 32 1989 World Wide Web revolutionizes the Internet 16 33 1948 Scientists at Bell Labs invent the transistor 17 35 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis threatens World War III 18 36 1912 “Unsinkable” Titanic, largest man-made structure, sinks 19 40 1909 First regular radio broadcasts begin in America 20 41 1918 Worldwide flu epidemic kills 20 million 21 42 1946 “ENIAC” becomes world’s first computer 22 43 1941 Regular TV broadcasting begins in the United States 23 46 1909 Plastic invented: revolutionizes products, packaging 24 48 1945 Atomic bomb tested in New Mexico 25 51 1959 American scientists patent the computer chip 26 52 1901 Marconi transmits radio signal across the Atlantic 27 57 1962 Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring stimulates environmental protection movement 28 60 1961 Yuri Gagarin becomes first man in space 29 61 1941 First jet airplane takes flight 30 64 1942 Manhattan Project begins secret work on atomic bomb: Fermi triggers first atomic chain reaction 31 66 1961 Alan Shepard becomes first American in space 32 70 1961 Communists build wall to divide East and West Berlin 33 75 1928 Joseph Stalin begins forced modernization of the Soviet Union; resulting famines claim 25 million 34 78 1900 Max Planck proposes quantum theory of energy 35 79 1997 Scientists clone sheep in Great Britain 36 80 1956 Congress passes interstate highway bill 37 81 1914 Panama Canal opens, linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans 38 83 1986 The Space Shuttle Challenger explodes, killing crew 39 87 1958 China begins “Great Leap Forward” modernization program, estimated 20 million die in ensuing famine 40 90 1962 John Glenn becomes first American to orbit the Earth 41 92 1997 Pathfinder lands on Mars, sending back astonishing photos 42 95 1978 Louise Brown, first “test-tube baby,” born healthy 43 96 1948 Soviets blockade West Berlin: Western allies respond with massive airlift 44 97 1975 Bill Gates and Paul Allen start Microsoft Corp. to develop software for Altair computer 45 98 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion kills more than 7,000 *Modified from “The Top 100 News Stories of the 20th Century” (1999 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co., Inc.)
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? To the historical justification, one can add contemporary challenges (see, e.g., the NAE Grand Challenges project, www.engineeringchallenges.org) that include the role of engineering and innovation in economic recovery, the efficient use of energy resources, the mitigation of risks from climate change, the creation of green jobs, the reduction in health care costs, an increase in healthy life styles, improving defense, and the development of new technologies for national security. Turning to educational justifications for standards for K–12 engineering education, I would first note the need for a widely accepted national statement of the goals and purposes of engineering education. I realize that individual curricula have goals. We can, for example, cite the historical goal of technological literacy from the 1970s Engineering Concepts Curriculum Project. Contemporary engineering curricula have similar goals (NAE, 2009). Nevertheless, I still believe we need a “widely accepted national statement” of the goals, purposes, and policies of engineering education. STEM is a popular acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. We have national standards for science (NRC, 1996), technology (ITEA, 2000), and mathematics (NCTM, 2000), but not for engineering education. I rest my case. Finally, we are in an era of standards-based reform. To be recognized and accepted in education today, a discipline or area of study needs a set of standards. Opportunities for Developing Standards for Engineering Education The opportunities for standards for engineering education can be summed up in a short phrase—the time is right. A convergence of conditions has created a climate conducive to the emergence of engineering as a viable component of K–12 education. In a recent editorial in Science, John Holdren, President Obama’s science and technology advisor, presents four practical challenges for the Obama administration: bringing science and technology more fully to bear on economic recovery; driving the energy-technology innovation we need to reduce energy imports and reduce climate-change risks; applying advances in biomedical science and information technology; and ensuring the nation’s security with needed intelligence technologies (Holdren, 2009). One can argue that all four challenges have essential connections to, and reliance on, engineering. In the same editorial, Holdren introduced what he calls “cross cutting foundations” for meeting the challenges. One of the foundations was “strengthening STEM education at every level, from precollege to postgraduate to lifelong learning.” (Holdren, 2009, p. 567). Since the National Science Foundation (NSF) introduced the term STEM as an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,* it has become widely used to refer to STEM education. But the truth is, the acronym usually refers to either science or mathematics, or both. It seldom refers to technology and almost never includes engineering. So, although the nation is concerned about STEM education, the T is only slightly visible and the E is invisible. A major opportunity for standards in engineering education is to make the E in STEM education visible. Standards for K–12 engineering education would define the knowledge and abilities for the E in STEM education and clarify ambiguities in the use of the acronym. However, unless engineering education standards are developed with tact and care, they could perpetuate the politics and territorial disputes among the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. Given the history of the sovereignty of educational territory, I suggest that standards * NSF actually began using the acronym SMET and later changed to STEM.
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? and engineering education, with support from business and industry, could provide leadership by providing a contemporary vision of STEM (Sanders, 2009). Another opportunity is implied in a current theme and the stated outcomes of education—the development of 21st century skills. The National Research Council has presented a summary of those skills (see Table 3). Based on this list, K–12 activities that center on engineering design could substantially contribute to students’ development of these skills. In this case, this may be a three-for-one opportunity. Students have opportunities to: (1) develop 21st century skills; (2) make connections to other STEM subjects; and (3) learn about careers in engineering. Overall, experience with engineering design would probably raise the level of students’ understanding of engineering and, by so doing, expand their interest and motivation, so that many of them may one day pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Table 3 Examples of 21st Century Skills* Research indicates that individuals learn and apply broad 21st century skills within the context of specific bodies of knowledge (National Research Council, 2008a, 2000; Levy and Murnane, 2004). At work, development of these skills is intertwined with development of technical job content knowledge. Similarly, in science education, students may develop cognitive skills while engaged in study of specific science topics and concepts. 1. Adaptability: The ability and willingness to cope with uncertain, new, and rapidly-changing conditions on the job, including responding effectively to emergencies or crisis situations and learning new tasks, technologies, and procedures. Adaptability also includes handling work stress; adapting to different personalities, communication styles, and cultures; and physical adaptability to various indoor or outdoor work environments (Houston, 2007; Pulakos, Arad, Donovan, and Plamondon, 2000). 2. Complex communications/social skills: Skills in processing and interpreting both verbal and non-verbal information from others in order to respond appropriately. A skilled communicator is able to select key pieces of a complex idea to express in words, sounds, and images, in order to build shared understanding (Levy and Murnane, 2004). Skilled communicators negotiate positive outcomes with customers, subordinates, and superiors through social perceptiveness, persuasion, negotiation, instructing, and service orientation (Peterson et al, 1999). 3. Non-routine problem solving: A skilled problem-solver uses expert thinking to examine a broad span of information, recognize patterns, and narrow the information to reach a diagnosis of the problem. Moving beyond diagnosis to a solution requires knowledge of how the information is linked conceptually and involves metacognition—the ability to reflect on whether a problem-solving strategy is working and to switch to another strategy if the current strategy isn’t working (Levy and Murnane, 2004). It includes creativity to generate new and innovative solutions, integrating seemingly unrelated information; and entertaining possibilities others may miss (Houston, 2007). 4. Self-management/Self-development: Self-management skills include the ability to work remotely, in virtual teams; to work autonomously; and to be self motivating and self monitoring. One aspect of self-management is the willingness and ability to acquire new information and skills related to work (Houston, 2007). 5. Systems Thinking: The ability to understand how an entire system works, how an action, change, or malfunction in one part of the system affects the rest of the system; adopting a “big picture” perspective on work (Houston, 2007). It includes judgment and decision-making;
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? Engineering standards based on a big ideas like these could be more concise and focused than past standards and could emphasize connections and distinctions among fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Conclusion The preliminary ideas offered here do not even begin to address the deeper issues of implementation. In Massachusetts, which enacted the strongest set of technology and engineering standards in the nation in 2001, considerable progress has been made in many school districts to implement the standards. However, change at the classroom level has required significant time and funding from a number of governmental and private organizations in the state. Although educational systems have a great deal of inertia, they can be moved. Recent discussions about accountability in the forthcoming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act have suggested the need for “… incorporating indicators of the many fields of knowledge and skills that young people need to be successful.” (A Broader, Bolder Approach, available on-line at http://www.boldapproach.org/report_20090625.html) If enacted into law, this philosophy may help motivate change as well. We are optimistic that, if a clear, concise vision for engineering education can be developed and integrated into the fabric of state standards in the core subjects of science and mathematics, then implementation of engineering education will begin to take hold. References AAAS (1990). Science for All Americans: A Project 2061 Report. American Association for the Advancement of Science, Project 2061. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. AAAS (1993). Benchmarks for Science Literacy. American Association for the Advancement of Science, Project 2061. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Beatty, Alexandra, Rapporteur (2008). Common Standards for K–12 Education?: Considering the Evidence: Summary of a Workshop Series, Committee on State Standards in Education: A Workshop Series, National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Duschl, R.A., Schweingruber, H.A., and Shouse, A.W., eds. (2007). Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K–8. National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Foecke, H. A. (1970). “Engineering in the Humanistic Tradition,” Impact of Science on Society, vol. XX, no. 2. Foecke, Harold A. (1995). “Fifty Years of UNESCO Leadership in Science and Technology Education,” UNESCO 50 Years for Education, CD-ROM. Hudson, S., McMahon, K., and Overstreet, C. (2002). The 2000 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education: Compendium of Tables. Chapel Hill, NC: Horizon Research, Inc.
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? ITEA (2000). Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology. International Technology Education Association and National Academy of Engineering. Reston, VA: International Technology Education Association. Klein, D., et al. (2005). The State of State Math Standards. Available online at http://www.edexcellence.net/detail/news.cfm?news_id=338. Koehler, C., Faraclas, E., Giblin, D., Kazerounian, K., and Moss, D. (2006). Are concepts of technical & engineering literacy included in state curriculum standards? A regional overview of the nexus between technical & engineering literacy and state science frameworks. Proceedings of 2006 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Chicago, IL, Paper No. 2006-1510, June 18-21. Koehler, C., Faraclas, E., Sanchez, S., Latif, S.K., and Kazerounian, K. (2005). Engineering frameworks for a high school setting: Guidelines for technical literacy for high school students. Proceedings of 2005 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition. Layton, D. (1993). Technology’s Challenge to Science Education: Cathedral, Quarry, or Company Store? Philadelphia: Open University Press. MA DOE (2001, 2006). Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework. Malden, MA: Massachusetts Department of Education. Available online at http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/scitech/1006.pdf. McCarthy, J. and Comfort, K. (1993). What’s the Big Idea? An Assessment Framework for CLAS Science Assessment. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education. McNeil, Michelle (2009). “Forty-Six States Commit to Common Standards Push.” Education Week, June 1, 2009. Available online at http://www.edweek.org. Michaels, S., Shouse, A.W., and Schweingruber, H.A. (2008). In Ready, Set, Science!: Putting Research to Work in K–8 Science Classrooms. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. NAGB (In Press). Technology Framework for the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress. National Assessment Governing Board. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. NAGB (2008). Science Framework for the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress. National Assessment Governing Board. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. NCTM (1980). NCTM, 1980, An Agenda for Action: Recommendations for School Mathematics of the 1980s. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Reston, VA: NCTM. NCTM (1989). Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Reston, VA: NCTM. NCTM (2000). Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Reston, VA: NCTM. NCTM (2008). The Role of Technology in the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics. Online at http://www.nctm.org/about/content.aspx?id=14233. NRC (National Research Council) (1996). National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. NRC (2005). Rising above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. National Research Council. Washington DC: National Academies Press.
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? ODE (2009). Science Content Standards Revision Draft. Oregon Department of Education. Available online at: http://www.ode.state.or.us/search/page/?=2560 Reys, B., ed. (2006). The Intended Curriculum as Represented in State-Level Curriculum Standards: Consensus or Confusion? Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) (1986–2003). Innovations in Science and Technology Education. Volumes I–VIII. Paris: UNESCO Publishing. Wicklein, R. (2003). Five good reasons for engineering as THE focus for technology education. Athens: University of Georgia. Available online at: http://www.uga.edu/teched/conf/wick_engr.pdf.
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? Appendix A The 2000 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education, by Susan B. Hudson, Kelly C. McMahon, and Christina M. Overstreet, provides a wealth of data, based on responses from 5,765 science and mathematics teachers across the United States (Hudson, 2002). This volume contains tables of frequencies for each item on the questionnaire, copies of the instruments, and details on data collection and analysis. Results are available online at: http://2000survey.horizon-research.com/reports/tables.php. Mathematics Standards How familiar are you with the NCTM Standards? Grades K–4 38% of respondents "Not at all familiar" 31% of respondents "Somewhat familiar" 21% of respondents “Fairly familiar” 10% of respondents “Very familiar” Grades 5–8 27% of respondents "Not at all familiar" 24% of respondents "Somewhat familiar" 30% of respondents “Fairly familiar” 19% of respondents “Very familiar” Grades 9–12 15% of respondents "Not at all familiar" 31% of respondents "Somewhat familiar" 35% of respondents “Fairly familiar” 19% of respondents “Very familiar” 2a. How familiar are you with the National Science Education Standards, published by the National Research Council? Grades K–4 67% of respondents "Not at all familiar" 22% of respondents "Somewhat familiar" 9% of respondents “Fairly familiar” 2% of respondents “Very familiar” Grades 5–8 42% of respondents "Not at all familiar" 31% of respondents "Somewhat familiar 19% of respondents “Fairly familiar” 8% of respondents “Very familiar” Grades 9–12 37% of respondents "Not at all familiar" 34% of respondents "Somewhat familiar" 18% of respondents “Fairly familiar” 10% of respondents “Very familiar”
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? Appendix B: DRAFT A Vision of Engineering Standards in Terms of Big Ideas Cary Sneider, Associate Research Professor, Portland State University Based on earlier work at the Museum of Science, Boston One way of developing standards that are clear, coherent, focused, and rigorous is to first identify a small set of big ideas that we want students to understand at a deep level, to remember for many years after leaving high school, and to find useful in their everyday lives. These big ideas would provide a means of deciding what to include and what to exclude from the standards. The following table is a suggested list of big ideas in three dimensions of engineering education: critical knowledge about the engineering design process, skill sets that enable students to apply the process, and habits of mind that frame the way students approach problematic situations. Knowledge 1. Engineering design is an approach to solving problems or achieving goals. 2. Technology is a fundamental attribute of human culture 3. Science and engineering differ in terms of goals, processes, and products. Skill Sets 4. Designing under constraint. 5. Using tools and materials. 6. Mathematical reasoning. Habits of Mind 7. Systems thinking. 8. Desire to encourage and support effective teamwork. 9. Concern for the societal and environmental impacts of technology. In the remainder of this appendix, we list learning expectations for the elementary, middle, and high school levels for each big idea, skill set, and habit of mind. We use the term benchmarks to denote what students should know and be able to do at the 5th, 8th, and 12th grade levels, provided they have had adequate opportunities to learn the engineering design process. These learning expectations are based on prior national standards (NSES, Benchmarks, and STL), and our own experience in developing and evaluating K–12 curriculum materials in technology and engineering. Knowledge Three big ideas characterize what students need to know about the engineering design process: (1) engineering design is an approach to defining and solving problems; (2) technology is a fundamental attribute of human culture; and (3) engineering and science are different but mutually reinforcing endeavors. Learning expectations for each of these big ideas are listed below. Engineering design is an approach to solving problems or achieving goals. Problems and goals can be defined so they can be tackled systematically and satisfying solutions can be found. Grades K–5: Elementary school children understand that everyone can design a solution to a problem. Given a problem statement, they can ask questions to clarify the problem and learn what
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? others have done, imagine what some solutions might be, create a plan and test a possible solution, then improve the design and communicate it others. Grades 5–8: At the middle school level students can more thoroughly describe how the engineering design process would be applied to a problem situation. They can describe steps that can be performed in different sequences and repeated as needed. Although there are slightly different descriptions of the design process in the literature, most converge on a set of steps like the following: (1) define the problem, (2) research how others have solved it, (3) generate several alternative solutions, (4) select the most promising solution, (5) make a prototype, (6) test and evaluate it, (7) communicate the results, (8) redesign based on feedback. Grades 9–12: When asked to describe technologies around them, high school students recognize that almost everything that they see, touch, hear, or otherwise experience has been designed by people using the engineering design process. One way of demonstrating this knowledge is by “reverse engineering” an everyday example of technology. They also understand that the engineering design process is a highly flexible approach to recognizing, defining, and solving problems or to meeting human needs or desires. Technology is a fundamental attribute of human culture. We define human cultures largely in terms of the technologies people in those cultures engineer and use. Grades K–5: At the elementary level students can distinguish things found in nature from things that are made by people. They can also give examples of how naturally occurring materials such as wood, clay, cotton, and animal skins may be processed or combined with other materials to change their properties in order to solve human problems and enhance the quality of life. Grades 5–8: Middle school students can explain how technologies such as spear points, grinding bowls, and pottery provide evidence of how people who lived long ago solved problems, how they must have lived, and even something of their creativity and sense of aesthetics. They can give examples of historical periods that have been named for the dominant technology, such as the Iron Age, the Bronze Age, or the Industrial Revolution. They can also give examples of the vast number and variety of technologies that pervade modern society, as well as technologies that are particular to their own cultural communities. Grades 9–12: High school students can cite some evidence in support of the statement that “As long as there have been people, there has been technology.” They can also cite evidence that technology has been a powerful force in the development of civilization by giving examples of how technology has shaped values, commerce, language, and the arts. High school students should also be able to describe the rapid pace of technological change in their own era, as well as modern civilization’s dependence on technological systems, such as the electrical power grid, transportation systems, and food production and distribution systems. Science and engineering differ in terms of goals, processes, and products. Science is a means of learning about the natural world, while engineering is a process for changing it. Technological advances may enable new scientific discoveries, while scientific understanding sometimes results in new or improved technologies. Grades K–5: Students are able to distinguish the questioning, observation, and experimentation process of scientific inquiry from the problem-solving process of engineering design. They can give examples of how a scientist might go about studying the life cycle of a butterfly and how an engineer might go about designing a better car. They can also give examples of how engineers apply science in their work and how scientists rely on technologies developed by engineers. Grades 5–8: Middle school students can explain the differences in goals, processes, and products of scientists and engineers. They can also give examples of why engineering is essential to science (e.g. for gaining access to outer space, for observing very small or very distant objects) and why science is
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? essential to engineering (e.g., for helping engineers understand why things work, such as how airplanes fly, so that they can be improved). They can also describe a wide variety of engineering professions and recognize that men and women from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds have chosen to be engineers. Grades 9–12: Students at the high school level will be able to express a richer sense of the relationships linking technology and science. They can give examples of how technological problems sometimes create a demand for new scientific knowledge and how new technologies make it possible for scientists to extend their research in new ways or to undertake entirely new lines of research. Most important, they can cite modern examples of the complementary relationship between science and technology in fields such as medical research and nanotechnology, and they can describe the educational pathway that individuals must follow if they choose to pursue careers in science or engineering. Skill Sets Although many skills contribute to a person’s capability to engage in engineering design, we have identified the following skill sets as the most essential: (4) designing under constraint; (5) using tools and materials; and (6) mathematical reasoning. Although this brief section does not define levels of skill performance, a major goal of this study will be to specify skill levels and figure out how teachers can determine their students’ skill levels through embedded assessments. Designing under constraint is the ability to apply all of the steps of the engineering design process in real-world contexts. Grades K–4: Elementary school students can learn that the problem-definition phase of engineering design includes identifying desired characteristics of the solution (criteria), as well as limits (constraints). Young children can learn about constraints such as safety, time, cost, school policy, space, availability of materials, and other realities that restrict possible solutions. Teachers can point out that adults also face constraints when they design things and that the real challenge, for adults and children, is to devise solutions that achieve good results in spite of the restrictions. However, elementary students should not be faced with problems that involve too many variables at one time. When generating possible solutions young children have a tendency to go with their first idea. Learning to suspend judgment until other ideas for solving a problem have been generated can be very challenging for elementary students but is a very important element of the decision-making process. Grades 5–8: Middle school students should develop skill in defining problems in which there may be competing interests and values. They should learn to use brainstorming as a means of generating diverse solutions and to develop analytical tools for choosing among possible ideas, even when the data are unclear or incomplete. One of the most important tools they should learn to use is the idea of trade-offs—designs that are best in one respect (safety or ease of use, for example) but may be inferior in other ways (cost or appearance). The students should be able to justify decisions in terms of trade-offs and acknowledge that other individuals may have different, also justifiable solutions to the same problem. Middle school students should also have experience in testing prototypes as a way of transforming ideas into practical solutions. Finally, they should have experiences in which they communicate their ideas using drawings and simple models, receive feedback on their ideas, and then redesign their solutions in light of that feedback. Grades 9–12: High school students should have opportunities to define solvable problems, with clearly identified criteria and constraints, in situations that may at first seem chaotic. Once a solvable problem is defined and the students have brainstormed alternative solutions, they should be able to
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? make decisions about which solutions are best in light of uncertain or partial data. Good engineering design is distinguished by the ability to make the best possible decision in light of real-world uncertainties. The use of a Pugh chart is a helpful analytic tool for comparing various solutions against criteria and constraints. High school students should also be more sophisticated than middle school students in their ability to build and test prototypes or simulate technological systems to come up with the best possible solution. Using tools and materials involves the selection, testing, and use of appropriate tools and materials to solve a problem or meet a human need. Grades K–5: In early years, students develop simple skills using tools and materials, such as how to measure, cut, connect, switch, turn on and off, pour, hold, tie, and hook. Beginning with simple instruments, students can use rulers to measure the length, height, and depth of objects and materials; thermometers to measure temperature; watches to measure time; beam balances and spring scales to measure weight and force; magnifiers to observe objects and organisms; and microscopes to observe the finer details of plants, animals, rocks, and other materials. Children should also develop skills in selecting among different materials to choose those most useful for a given purpose. Grades 5–8: Middle school students should have a broad view of Earth materials such as solid rocks and soils, water in the forms liquid and ice, and the gases in the atmosphere. These varied materials have different physical and chemical properties, which make them useful in different ways, for example, as building materials, as sources of fuel, or for growing the plants we use as food. The choice of materials for a job depends on their properties and on how they interact with other materials. Similarly, the usefulness of some manufactured parts of an object depends on how well the parts fit together. Middle school students should also exhibit capabilities in the use of computers and calculators for solving problems. Grades 9–12: In addition to the above experiences with tools and materials, high school students should have opportunities to illustrate their ideas through engineering drawings and computer aided design (CAD) systems, if possible. They should also have opportunities to use a variety of tools and materials to construct prototypes of their own design and to test the design concept by observing its function in representative situations so that it can be redesigned for manufacturing. Mathematical reasoning involves using fundamental mathematical skills to solve problems or build prototypes. Grades K–5: Young children should develop the capability of making measurements to answer questions about objects such as “How tall is it?” “How much does it hold?” “How big is it?” They should also encounter situations in which they need to use simple arithmetic operations to solve problems related to a design challenge. Grades 5–8: At the middle school level students can make more varied and precise measurements as well as more challenging estimates. They are also capable of understanding more abstract measurement concepts, such as the idea of a “measurement unit,” the conversion of units from one system to another, and the limitations of measurements made with different instruments. Negative numbers, fractions, and decimals can now be used in the service of solving problems. Students should demonstrate their capability not only to carry out operations accurately, but also to choose the appropriate operation and/or level of estimation or precision of measurement for a given situation. Grades 9–12: While high school students can be expected to bring additional skills (algebra, geometry, trigonometry and possibly elementary calculus) to the engineering design process, the major focus should be on determining whether or not students have developed advanced skills in determining the most appropriate operations to address various steps of the process—defining problems quantitatively, creating engineering drawings with scale factors, using tools to accurately
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? measure materials, setting up a testing apparatus that allows for quantitative comparisons of different materials and structures, etc. Habits of Mind The engineering design requires a different mind set from the mind set appropriate to science, mathematics, or any other academic field. We’ve divided these “habits of mind” into three areas: (7) systems thinking; (8) teamwork; and (9) societal and environmental impacts of technology. Systems thinking is a way of approaching problems with a recognition that all technologies are systems of interacting parts that are, in turn, embedded in larger systems. While it may be argued that systems thinking is both a big idea and a skill set, we have chosen to list it as a habit of mind to emphasize that systems thinking is—more importantly—a worldview. Grades K–5: Young children can learn that things consist of interacting parts. Our bodies, for example, are natural systems that contain many different parts that act together to keep us alive and active. Children should consider many other systems as well, both technological and natural. In addition, young children can learn that everything is connected to everything else, so damage to one part of a system may affect the function of the system as a whole. Food webs are frequently presented to elementary students as systems, but many other examples should also be presented. Grades 5–8: Middle school students can learn that complex technological systems require control mechanisms. The essence of control is comparing information about what is happening to what people want to happen and then making appropriate adjustments. This procedure requires sensing information, processing it, and making changes. The common thermostat can serve as a model for control mechanisms. Students should explore how controls work in various kinds of systems—machines, athletic contests, politics, the human body, and so on. Students should also try to invent control mechanisms that they can actually put into operation. As a habit of mind, understanding systems at the middle school level means that whenever students approach a new problem they consider the system as a whole, how it functions, and how it is controlled. Grades 9–12: High school students should have opportunities to explore more complex technological systems, including how technologies interact with social and cultural systems. They should be aware that complex systems have layers of controls. Some controls operate particular parts of the system, and some control other controls. Even fully automatic systems require human control at some point. High school students should also be able to analyze technological systems using the ideas of universal design and life cycle analysis. The universal design model involves analysis of goals, inputs and outputs, internal processes, feedback, and control. Life cycle analysis of a device or process involves how it will be manufactured, operated, maintained, replaced, and disposed of and who will sell, operate, and take care of it. As a habit of mind, students are able to break out of the narrow definition of a problem and reflect on the relevant systems and how they affect, and in turn are affected by, new and improved technologies. The desire to encourage and support effective teamwork is a hallmark of capable engineering work, since no single individual is likely to bring to a problem situation all of the necessary knowledge and skills for a good solution. Grades K–5: A predisposition to work with others and contribute effectively on a team takes many years to develop, preferably beginning in elementary school. In the early elementary years it is challenging for students to consider other students’ ideas, especially if they conflict with their own ideas. By the end of fifth grade students should be able to do this well and to reflect what they like about working on teams and what conflicts that they try to avoid. They should also be aware that
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Standards for K-12 Engineering Education? their own teams are like those of scientists and engineers, in that individuals with different capabilities and talents combine their efforts to arrive at a better solution as a team than they could as individuals. Grades 5–8: Middle school students should be aware that most of the work of engineers involves working as a member of a team. In addition, one of the advantages of teams is that they may include a wide diversity of talents and points of view from women and men of various social and ethnic backgrounds with different interests, capabilities, and motivations. Evidence of effective teamwork might include full participation with other students on teams, the ability to communicate ideas clearly, but also active listening to teammates and a willingness to work with widely diverse individuals. Grades 9–12: High school students should move to higher levels of critical and creative thinking through progressively more demanding design and technology teamwork. In addition to team-building skills mentioned above, high school students should show evidence that they recognize the advantages of the combination of teamwork and individual effort, that they focus on the quality of work by the entire team, and that they are willing to engage and assist weaker members of their team. Concern for the societal and environmental impacts of technology involves personal values as well as knowledge and skills. Grades K–5: Elementary school students are capable of realizing that because of our ability to invent tools, materials, and processes, we humans have an enormous effect on the lives of other living things. New or improved technologies can have both positive and negative impacts. Consequently, decisions involving technology should be made with possible societal and environmental impacts in mind. Grades 5–8: At the middle school level students should show evidence of a more sophisticated understanding of the pros and cons of technological changes. On the positive side, transportation, communications, nutrition, sanitation, health care, entertainment, and other technologies give large numbers of people today the goods and services that once were luxuries enjoyed only by the wealthy. However, these benefits are not equally available to everyone. Furthermore, technological changes often have side effects that were not anticipated. For example, the first pioneering engineers who developed automobiles did not realize that this invention would cause tens of thousands of deaths per year as the speed of cars increased. Students’ decision-making should show evidence that they are attempting to take possible societal and environmental impacts into account. Grades 9–12: High school students should be able to conduct risk analyses of technological innovations to minimize the likelihood of unwanted side effects of a new technology by considering such questions as: What alternative ways are there to achieve the same ends, and how do the alternatives compare to the plan being put forward? Who benefits and who suffers? What are the financial and social costs, do they change over time, and who bears them? What are the risks associated with using (or not using) the new technology, how serious are they, and who is in jeopardy? What human, material, and energy resources will be needed to build, install, operate, maintain, and replace the new technology, and where will they come from? How will the new technology and its waste products be disposed of and at what cost? Students should also be aware that risk can be reduced in a variety of ways: overdesign, redundancy, fail-safe designs, more research ahead of time, more controls, etc. They should also come to recognize that the cost of such precautions may become prohibitive.
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