The last decade has seen an emergence of engineering education in US elementary, middle and high schools. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC 2012) suggests placing engineering design on equal footing with science inquiry. The technology education community evolved with a name change of its professional organization to include engineering—now known as the International Technology and Engineering Education Association (ITEEA). As reported by the 2017 PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, Americans overwhelming (82%) view technology and engineering education as an important indicator of school quality (PDK International, 2017). Furthermore, previous work by the National Research Council supports the teaching of engineering habits of mind and skills (NRC, 2009; Snieder & Rosen, 2009) in P-12 classrooms. However, while ITEEA’s Standards for Technological Literacy (2000/2002/2007) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013) provide guidance for the teaching of engineering in both technology and science classrooms respectively, a clear national delineation of P-12 engineering knowledge eludes educators. In addition, little is known about how students’ progress through engineering learning beyond the context of science, math, or technology education. Therefore, the establishment of a coherent P-12 study of engineering, requires an accurate, comprehensive, yet deep dive into the appropriate scaffolding of content knowledge (Grubbs, Strimel & Huffman, 2017). To address this issue, ITEEA and the ASEE Precollege Division jointly sponsored the 2017 Advancing Excellence in P-12 Engineering Education (AEEE) Symposium which brought together more than 40 experts from various backgrounds (practicing engineers, higher education engineering faculty, secondary engineering/technology teachers, secondary school administrators and curriculum specialists, teacher education faculty, engineering students, higher education engineering administrators, and diversity specialists) to contribute to the development of the Framework of P-12 Engineering Literacy. The goal of the framework is to provide a coherent view of the Dimensions of Engineering Literacy for P-12 education which includes the dimensions of knowledge, skills, and habits of mind (Grubbs et al). The primary focus of the symposium was to validate, review, and modify the engineering knowledge taxonomy. Participants were given findings from a three-round modified Delphi study, which was completed in preparation for the symposium, to guide and inform their discussions and decisions. Using prompts and guiding questions, participants determined what types of engineering knowledge (including engineering, math, science and technological concepts) are essential to the study of engineering literacy and appropriate for high school learners. As a result of the symposium, a refined draft Engineering Knowledge taxonomentric structure was developed that includes: fundamental and technical elements; eight content organizers (e.g. Engineering Design, Quantitative Analysis, Mechanical); core concepts (e.g. prototyping, measurement and precision, material classifications); and sub concepts (e.g. additive manufacturing, product assembly, stress-strain analysis) for high school engineering education. This paper will provide the rationale for the symposium, describe the dimensions of engineering literacy, present the preliminary results from the Delphi study and symposium, define the Engineering Knowledge taxonometric structure, and discuss the development of progressions of learning for secondary engineering.
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