Examination of engineering design in curriculum content and assessment practices of secondary technology education
Kelley, Todd Richard
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This descriptive study examined the current status of technology education teacher practices with respect to engineering design. Participants were drawn from the current International Technology Education Association (ITEA) high school teacher membership database. A survey instrument gathered data about the extent to which engineering design concepts are incorporated into the curriculum content, and assessment practices employed by secondary technology educators. Moreover, the survey identified challenges faced by technology educators when seeking to implement engineering design. Current curriculum content that addresses engineering design concepts consisted of the following seven subsets: (a) engineering design, (b) engineering analysis, (c) application of engineering design, (d) engineering communication, (e) design thinking, (f) engineering and human values, and (g) engineering science. The instrument was developed from current research in technology education that has identified curricular goals, content recommended for teaching an engineering design focused program at the high school level, appropriate assessment practices for evaluating engineering design projects, and perceived challenges facing teachers implementing engineering design content (Asunda & Hill, 2007; Rhodes & Childress, 2006; Smith, 2006; Gattie & Wicklein, 2007). A composite score of total instructional hours was generated for each of the seven engineering design categories by combining the mean scores of frequency of use and time per typical use. These composite score results revealed that the categories engineering design, design thinking related to engineering design, and engineering communications were greatly emphasized in secondary technology education programs. The study results also indicated that engineering and human values, engineering science, and engineering analysis were the least emphasized categories in technology education curriculum content. The results of technology education teacher practices revealed that little emphasis has been place on assessing mathematical models to predict design results.