Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




STEM Education

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Wilhelm


This qualitative quasi-experimental study analyzed middle-level students’ understanding of engineering before and after instruction. Students from four teachers were examined. Before and after instruction, all students completed the Draw an Engineer Test (DAET) and the Views of Nature of Engineering (VNOE) survey. Additionally, sixteen students (eight girls and eight boys) from each group (Treatment and Comparison) were interviewed before and after instruction. Findings revealed that after instruction (1) many students viewed engineers as makers/builders/workers (just as they did pre-instruction), however, the percentage of students who listed engineers as inventors, designers, and creators increased; (2) fewer students from both groups noted they had heard about the engineering design process or had considered being; (3) the interviewed Treatment students were more knowledgeable about engineers than were the interviewed Comparison students. This study is important as it is one of the first studies to examine student understanding of engineering after receiving a science-based engineering design unit, and it found the total understanding to require improvement.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)