UMD to Lead Milestone NSF High School Engineering Pilot Course

Intended as Precursor to Widely-Accepted Transferable College-Level Credit 

Oct. 1, 2018 (COLLEGE PARK, Md.) — With a nearly $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the University of Maryland will lead a first-of-its-kind nationwide pre-college course on engineering principles and design. The pilot program, entitled Engineering For US All (E4USA), will test the effectiveness of a standardized educational curriculum across multiple states. The course is intended to lead to an eventual pathway for high school students to earn college credit.
 
“Every student should have access to a high-quality pre-college curriculum that teaches engineering principles and practices while incorporating design-based experiences,” said Darryll J. Pines, Principal Investigator (PI) and dean of the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering. “The skills learned in engineering classrooms enable students from demographically and geographically diverse schools to not only become better prepared for the academic challenges within science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses, but to become better prepared for life.”
 
The project is in partnership with Arizona State University, Morgan State University, and Virginia Tech. During the pilot, researchers will refine a curriculum developed by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the College Board. The curriculum will integrate engineering principles and a student design project, and it will align to the Next Generation Science Standards for K–12 education, developed by 26 states and other partners. 
Vanderbilt University, another University partner, will evaluate the curriculum, student learning, and teacher training. Additional collaborators include NASA Goddard, Project Lead the Way, and the College Board. Over 1,000 students at approximately 40 high schools are expected to complete the pilot over the three year period.
 
"NSF helps build the nation’s future engineering workforce, and a key part of that is enabling more students to have access to and preparation for undergraduate engineering education," said Dawn Tilbury, assistant director of NSF’s Directorate for Engineering. "A standardized high school engineering course will help remove the mystery and democratize the learning and practice of engineering."
 
In February 2018, more than 100 U.S. deans of engineering indicated their willingness to award credit for entering undergraduate students who have successfully completed a high-quality introductory course in engineering while in high school.
 
“The College Board shares with the Engineering Deans Council a desire both to expand and diversify the pipeline of students interested in and well prepared to earn engineering degrees," said Trevor Packer, Senior Vice President, Advanced Placement and Instruction at the College Board. "We are eager to see whether a new engineering course in American high schools could increase appetite and readiness among a larger and more diverse set of students to major in engineering, and effectively qualify students for college credit and placement in engineering departments across the country."
 
By completion of the pilot, hundreds of engineering educators will be involved in shaping the curriculum. The continued support and feedback from high school teachers is critical to the pilot’s success.
 
“The most important element in student learning is the teacher,” said Margaret J. McLaughlin, part of the E4USA team and associate dean for research and innovation and partnerships at the UMD College of Education. “How we teach students design-based thinking cuts across science standards and other disciplines, which is why it is essential to effectively train teachers to introduce this way of thinking to their students.”
 
Teachers will be grouped as a network to create a broad learning community. An online platform will enable teachers to collaborate, learn from one another, and receive support by sharing teaching materials and challenges.
 
“E4USA provides guidelines for learning management systems and the online analytical tools for centralized data collection and protocols,” said Leigh Abts, co-PI and associate researcher with a joint appointment in UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and College of Education. “E4USA will offer teachers online, mentored, video-based professional development supported by online modules and mentoring.”  
 
For over five years, engineering deans in the ASEE PreK-12 Engineering Education Committee have been laying the groundwork for an advanced high school course in engineering. “I am thrilled that we are that much closer to offering this opportunity to all U.S. students,” said Pines. 

What people are saying...

“ASU and our collaborators share a mutual goal of creating pathways to encourage and excite students to pursue engineering. Through the Engineering for US All (E4USA) project, ASU will build on our existing partnerships and online offerings to increase access for high school students to earn equivalent credit for entry-level, undergraduate engineering courses. We look forward to working with our partners at the University of Maryland, Morgan State University, Vanderbilt University and Virginia Tech expand our impact for developing the next generation of STEM professionals.”
 
- Co-PI Dr. Ann McKenna, director of The Polytechnic School in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University

Headlines

UMD Receives Grant to Develop High School Engineering Courses

The Maryland Daily Record (10/1/18) 
The University of Maryland, College Park will lead a pilot program to design and test an engineering dual credit course as engineering looks to become a more critical part of high school education. The program, funded by a $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation, will be led by the University of Maryland, partnering with... read more (paywall) 
 

UMD, Morgan State part of pilot for national high school engineering course 

Baltimore area schools will be involved in a new pilot program that’s looking to create an engineering course for high school students across the country. The effort, called Engineering For US All, said it received a $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation this week. The aim is to develop and test a standardized engineering course, with an eye toward creating a path for high schools students to earn college credit... read more. 

 

Vanderbilt selected to evaluate NSF-funded high school engineering curriculum

Research News @Vanderbilt (10/4/18)

Vanderbilt University is charged with evaluating a new, National Science Foundation-funded course for high school students on engineering principles and design. The $4 million pilot program, entitled Engineering For US All (E4USA), will test the effectiveness of a standardized educational curriculum across multiple states. The course is intended to lead to an eventual pathway for high school students to earn college credit...

 


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