2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana

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doi: 10.18260/p.25999


This theory paper examines literature on the construct, funds of knowledge, as it has been applied in STEM education, with an emphasis on engineering and explores if and how funds of knowledge has been used to understand first-generation college students in engineering. Using a systematic literature review, we describe how the framework of funds of knowledge has been adopted in the engineering education literature. Funds of knowledge is a conceptual framework that has been concerned with social justice issues around validity and impacts of deficit theorizing (a theory that points to the underachievement of minority groups on perceived deficiencies related to their culture). The funds of knowledge framework suggest that instructors solicit their students’ background experiences and knowledge to enhance their students’ learning. We examine the following questions: 1) How is the funds of knowledge framework being utilized to understand math, science and engineering concepts at the secondary and post-secondary level? and 2) What literature currently exists on funds of knowledge for first-generation college students and first-generation college students in engineering? We examined numerous journal articles, books, magazines and other scholarly published work on funds of knowledge in STEM, indexed in Engineering Village, Scopus, ERIC, Educational Full Text and the ASEE PEER database. This method allowed us to gain a holistic view of how the framework is being applied in the various STEM disciplines.


funds of knowledge, first-generation college students, STEM education

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