Skip navigation

Classroom Assessment

group meeting

INSPIRE researchers found a relationship between science learning and design learning but no robust relationship between design performance and student learning.

INSPIRE Projects

For more details on individual projects, select one from the following:

Description of Project:
The creation of a tool for researchers and educators to use to determine whether an assessment instrument is appropriate for use in their project setting.

Faculty:
Dr. Johannes Strobel
Dr. Senay Purzer
Dr. Kerrie Douglas

Graduate Student:
Anastasia Rynearson

 


Research Question:
How can design learning be assessed at the elementary level? Are there differences between students of different ages?

Activity:
Instrument development process  for elementary students in grades 2-4.

Results:
Fourth graders were able to comment on more design process concepts.
Some design concepts, such as test and improve, are more readily understandable than others, such as problem scoping.


Description of Project:
Prior to and following engineering instruction, students in grades two to four were asked to draw a picture of an engineer at work and write a sentence describing their picture. Two coding systems have been developed to analyze the data. The first coding system is a descriptive catalog of elements represented in student drawings. The second coding system assigns one code to each drawing, indicating the type of work represented in the drawing. Data will be used to better understand the effect of an engineering intervention on elementary students’ perceptions of engineers.

Faculty:
Heidi Diefes-Dux*, Johannes Strobel

Staff:
Daphne Wiles

Graduate Students:
Ron Carr

Undergraduate Students:
Susha Kharchenko

Funding Source of Project:
DRK-12


Description of Project:
Change in elementary students’ conceptions of engineering has been studied using the Draw-an-
Engineering Test (DAET) prior to and following a curriculum intervention. This instrument asks
students to draw an engineer doing engineering work and then write about what the engineer is
doing, typically in a sentence or two. The purpose of this study is to further analyze the effectiveness of teacher professional
development and teacher practices through a simplified analysis of student drawings.

Faculty:
Dr. Heidi* Diefes-Dux
Graduate Students: Ronald L. Carr
Undergraduate Students: Ben Horstman and Alex Niccum

Funding Source of Project:
DRK-12


As people engage in real-life situations, they draw from their full knowledge base and skillset. Integrating science, engineering, mathematics, computational thinking and literacy in educational experiences for pre-college students can better prepare students for real-world situations while also allowing teachers to add engineering and computing to the school day without diminishing their focus on mathematics and literacy. At the same time, we know children only spend about 18% of their waking hours in formal school environments -- thus we can promote learning by capitalizing on the time spent in out-of-school settings and making connections across school and out-of-school settings.

In this project, we integrate computational thinking into the PictureSTEM curriculum (which integrates STEM+literacy), develop extension activities to further support computing learning, develop science center exhibits, and develop resources for parents to help K-2nd grade students learn engineering design and computational thinking skills while also developing proficiency in mathematics, science, and literacy.

At the same time, we develop assessment frameworks, tools and approaches and conduct research on the student learning that takes place in the school and science center settings. Specifically, we investigate:

  • What does student learning look like in an integrated STEM+C school-based environment?
    • What does integration of STEM+C in K-2 classrooms look like?
    • How do K-2 students demonstrate engineering thinking in the refined PictureSTEM+C curriculum? (and How is this different from the ways K-2 demonstrated engineering thinking with the original Picture STEM curriculum?)
    • How do K-2 students demonstrate computational thinking in the refined PictureSTEM+C curriculum?
  • What does student learning look like in an integrated STEM+C informal learning environment?
    • What does integration of STEM+C in a science center look like?
    • How do K-2 students demonstrate engineering thinking as they engage with the STEM+C exhibits?
    • How do K-2 students demonstrate computational thinking as they engage with the STEM+C exhibits?
  • In what ways (if at all) do students make connections across the school and science center (and potentially other) settings?

Partners include:
New Community School , Glen Acres Elementary School, Imagination Station, WBAA Public Radio and the Covenant Homeschool Corporation.


The study of engineering can advance the problem solving and critical thinking ability of all students and prepare them for the technological workplace. Early exposure to engineering principles may increase all students' interest in STEM fields, while embedding problems in social issues may aid in the recruiting of underrepresented groups to the STEM enterprise. The INSPIRE program implements these ideas and tests their impact on learning and teaching. The face-to-face workshops used in the INSPIRE program at Purdue are extended through cyber-infrastructure with the use of video-based mentoring in real time and an asynchronous learning experience. A video and audio network links elementary school teachers with researchers and educators at Purdue to form a community of practice dedicated to implementing engineering education at the elementary grades. A learning progression, based on the Engineering is Elementary and model-eliciting mathematics materials, is developed for elementary school teachers to increase their ability to adapt and refine engineering learning materials in their classrooms. Existing assessment instruments will be revised and new ones developed, as necessary, to measure the impact of the professional development that includes engineering on teacher, student, administrator and parent knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors about engineering and engineering education. The research plan identifies the changes in teacher and student knowledge, the abilities and behaviors resulting from the introduction of engineering, and the attributes of face-to-face and cyber-enabled teacher professional development and community building that can transform teachers into master users and designers of engineering education for elementary learners. The study involves about 120 teachers in three cohort groups.


Description of Project:
Instrument development to study how participation in STEM activities can increase students’ hope in a better adult life. We are working with students and teachers in Hammond City School District in order to better understand what hope looks like in students who face economic barriers, such as living in poverty.

Funding Source of Project:
Morgridge Family Foundation

Faculty:
Dr. Johannes Strobel
Dr. Senay Purzer
Dr. Anna Douglas

Staff:
Alicia Madeka

Undergraduate Students:
Miles Evans


Description of Project:
Prior to and following engineering instruction at the Arlington Summer Academies, teachers completed an open-ended assessment that asked, “What is engineering?” and “What do engineers do?” The responses were analyzed using the Bloom’s Taxonomy coding system, first published in JEE (vol. 100, #3). The purpose of the study is to investigate the effects of an engineering intervention on teacher understanding of engineers and engineering.

Funding Source of Project:
DRK-12

Faculty:
Dr. Heidi Diefes-Dux*

Staff:
Dr. Daphne Wiles

Undergraduate Students:
Miles Evans, Bailey Mantha-Nagrant