Student conceptions of 'conducting tests' in design in the middle school classroom

Molly H. Goldstein, Sharifah A. Omar, Robin S. Adams, Şenay Purzer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Engineering design is a complex experience for students to undertake and for instructors to assess. Conducting tests is a critical design practice, yet the research on K-12 students' conceptions on conducting experiments is limited. Such research is essential as we attempt to understand how students become informed designers and ways in which we can support their transformation. By analyzing students' prioritization and re-prioritization of design strategies after participating in a design activity, this study examined how students' conceptions of design activities change over time. The study took place in three middle schools with 746 students. The main data source was the "conceptions of design test," which students completed a pre- and post-test, before and after completing a design project. We performed McNemar tests to quantitatively analyze students' changing conceptions of design. Results suggest that after a design activity, "conducting tests" became a statistically more important concept to students. Future work will investigate student rationale for this increased importance placed on "conducting tests" in design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFIE 2017 - Frontiers in Education, Conference Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781509059195
StatePublished - Dec 12 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event47th IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2017 - Indianapolis, United States
Duration: Oct 18 2017Oct 21 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Other47th IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Assessment
  • Conducting tests
  • Engineering design
  • Experimentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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