Educational standards, teacher preparation, and metacognition instruction for elementary students: Studies in pre-college engineering education

Ronald L Carr, Purdue University


This dissertation is a compilation of three separate works representing a wide range of issues related to pre-college engineering. Each work addresses multiple levels of concern for educators from national policy to specific classroom intervention. Although presenting different styles of writing—due to different journals requirements—and various methods of research, all purpose to further research and instruction in pre-college engineering. The research detailed in these papers has been inspired by the current STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education movement and in particular, by the National Academy of Engineering's leadership in promoting the integration of engineering into pre-college classrooms (National Research Council, 2010, 2011). Combining the three studies into one dissertation provides a broad view of pre-college engineering and demonstrates the diversity of relevant methodological approaches. It also demonstrates the importance of looking at education as a complex system of people, policies, and curricula when putting research into practice. Primarily, the research and practice of instructional design depends on a cycle of design, teaching, and evaluation. The three pieces of this work represent each of these phases. Chapter 1 provides: a) discussion of how these studies connect to demonstrate instructional design and research competencies under the shared context of pre-college engineering, and b) an overview of each study. Chapter 2, "Engineering in the K-12 STEM Standards of the 50 U.S. States: An Analysis of Presence and Extent" (Carr, Bennett, & Strobel, 2012), was published in the July 2012 issue of The Journal of Engineering Education, the premier peer-reviewed international journal devoted to research on engineering education at all levels. The content analysis of educational standards from all 50 U.S. states found engineering in the standards of 41 states, and analysis of those standards resulted in a list of "Big Ideas" of doing engineering in the pre-college classroom. Chapter 3, "A Design Case: Design and Integration of Engineering Curriculum for Secondary Teachers and Researchers", is in journal-ready format for a journal that exclusively features instructional design cases. The case follows the design process of graduate level course from the start of the project through two iterations and details the challenges, struggles, and decisions made to overcome them. The implementation outcomes showed improvement through the iterations and has provided the foundation for other professional development and teacher preparation courses. Chapter 4, "Design and Study of MCinEDP: Metacognition for Reflective Design in Pre-College Engineering," is an evaluation study and design case of instruction designed for elementary school students participating in engineering design activities. The results of the evaluation and analysis of the implementation inform further modifications of the intervention and encourage further research. To conclude, Chapter 5 summarizes the outcomes of the studies and their effects on the author and his place in the research community.




Strobel, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Instructional Design|Teacher education

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