Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of Project Lead the Way Engineering Curriculum Goals within Missouri High Schools
by Smith, Brian Eugene, Ed.D., Lindenwood University, 2017, 167; 10748309
Abstract (Summary)

Within the confines of this study, the researcher investigated Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering curriculum goals within Missouri high schools. The study measured Missouri PLTW teachers’ perceptions of various elements of the curriculum as well as state and national PLTW End of Course student assessment data to determine if a relationship existed between teachers’ perceptions of curriculum implementation and student performance, as measured through Missouri End of Course exams in various secondary engineering classes. In addition, the researcher conducted voluntary interviews with teachers, state administrators, and national representatives of PLTW to inquire about experiences with the PLTW Engineering curriculum.

Qualitatively, Missouri PLTW Engineering teachers expressed varied levels of satisfaction through a survey generated by the researcher, based upon national curriculum goals established by PLTW. Within the study, teachers’ perceptions reported students’ abilities to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems were greater than students’ abilities to design and conduct experiments, as well as to demonstrate knowledge of and responsibility for engineering issues, including ethical and professional responsibilities. The researcher attributed this perception to students’ lack of professional experience and to PLTW curriculum not providing enough opportunities for students to gain real-world relevant experience using the content and strategies learned during instructional class time.

The intention of this study was to provide a framework to review and evaluate curriculum goals established by PLTW, Inc. Originally, the researcher looked at national goals for the program to determine the outcomes of PLTW’s educational programming. However, much of the data was post-secondary related and the researcher wanted to maintain the quantitative nature of the study. Nonetheless, research could expand upon the framework to study any state in the nation through either a mixed-methods approach or the use of a quantitative study approach. The researcher recommends further research be conducted either by PLTW, Inc., through state PLTW affiliates or by other individuals to determine future outcomes of educational curriculum offered by PLTW. This could include engineering, biomedical science, computer science, middle school curriculum offered through Gateway to Technology (GTT), or through elementary curriculum offered through Launch.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Leavitt, Lynda
Commitee: McInnis, Timothy, Stewart, Terry
School: Lindenwood University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 79/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational evaluation, Secondary education, Engineering, Science education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Engineering curriculum, Student performance
Publication Number: 10748309
ISBN: 9780355771244
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