Developing and Testing a K-12 Engineering Epistemic Frame to Uncover Engineering in the Interactions of a High School Summer Session

Tamecia Raishaun Jones, Purdue University


Educational reform has expanded K-12 standards to include engineering. Not only will K-12 teachers have to be trained to teach engineering concepts, but assessments must evolve to reflect the various aspects of engineering. Engineering as a profession is expressed via multiple dimensions of an epistemic frame, such as skills, knowledge, identity, values, and epistemology, but many of these elements are not measured in K-12 formal and informal spaces. In a summer session of a college preparatory program, a research project revealed that although students had design journals, storyboards, and traditional assessments, the in situ video recordings captured decisions, evolution of projects, and rich interactions between students that were not assessed. This dissertation describes the development of a K-12 engineering epistemic frame that incorporates local standards, policy outcomes, and national directives to capture skills, knowledge, identity, values, and epistemologies of engineering. The project then capitalized on the video data to investigate what kinds of engineering and design knowledge could be identified and assessed from brainstorm sessions and studio critiques. It further investigated how Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA) might reveal aspects of the engineering epistemic frame. Network models were generated for the class, project groups, and individual students. Over half of the students displayed all aspects of the engineering epistemic frame, some students displayed many of the elements of the epistemic frame, and three students exhibited no elements of the epistemic frame. The engineering epistemic frame was then analyzed to show how it could complement Next Generation Science Standards. In summary, the engineering epistemic frame was an effective tool for viewing learning in situ, and brainstorm sessions and studio critiques are spaces where engineering knowledge occurs.




Cardella, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Secondary education|Engineering|Science education

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