ASEE Zone 2 Conference 2017

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Applying Psychometric Theory to the Examination of Learning within Informal Engineering Learning Environments

Final Paper
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Learning occurs in formal and informal environments across the lifespan. Informal learning has becoming increasingly present within engineering students’ experiences as co-curricular opportunities. Multiple positive outcomes have been reported by students related to technical and professional skills, beliefs, attitudes, and executive control functions. Identifying methods to assess these outcomes has been difficult. The variety across informal learning environments related to the voluntary nature and structure leads to complexity in assessing outcomes. Determining the nature or extent of student learning in informal engineering environments has largely relied on self-report. It is important to examine assessment of outcomes from a psychometric perspective to ensure that decisions based on the data from the measures are valid and reliable. The purposes for this work-in-progress paper are to: (a) describe the process to develop a measure of student outcomes from informal learning environments in engineering, such as engineering competitions; and (b) if available, report the results of a pilot study.


Lori Bland    
Division of Educational Psychology, Research Methods, and Education Policy
George Mason University
United States


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