Long-Term Impact of the E3 Summer Teacher Program
Keywords: engineering, K-12, teacher research experience
AbstractThe Enrichment Experiences in Engineering (E3) summer teacher program is hosted by the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University and is designed to provide engineering research experiences for Texas high school science and mathematics teachers. The mission of the E3 program is to educate and excite teachers about the field of engineering so that they can introduce engineering concepts to their students and encourage them to consider a career in engineering. The E3 program received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program from 2003 through 2013, and during that time, a total of 150 teachers participated in the program. Most of the teachers were from schools with large minority-student populations (average 83% Hispanic and/or African American; average 69% economically-disadvantaged). This paper presents evaluation findings to assess long-term impact of the E3 program on teachers who participated in one of the NSF-funded E3 programs during the 2003-2012 timeframe. The two research questions central to the study design were (1) What is the long-term impact of the E3 summer program on teachers who participated in the program? And (2) To what extent did the teachers who participated in the E3 summer experience impact student understanding, awareness and perceptions of the engineering field? The assessment tools included a series of focus group interviews and an anonymous online survey. The focus group sessions were conducted by the E3 external evaluator during annual E3 workshops where teachers from previous E3 cohorts were invited to attend. The anonymous online survey was administered in Fall 2013 by the external evaluator. Evaluation findings document that the E3 program has been successful in educating teachers about the engineering field and that, in the long term, teachers continue to promote engineering to their students as a career option. However, the teachers have experienced challenges when trying to implement their E3-developed classroom lessons in subsequent academic years. Recommendations to remediate this issue are provided. Although NSF funding concluded in 2013, the College continues to offer E3 research experiences to high school mathematics and science teachers using other financial resources.
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