Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 179–194 | Cite as

Measuring Pedagogy and the Integration of Engineering Design in STEM Classrooms

  • Tory WilliamsEmail author
  • Jonathan Singer
  • Jacqueline Krikorian
  • Christopher Rakes
  • Julia Ross


The present study examined changes in high school biology and technology education pedagogy during the first year of a three-year professional development (PD) program using the INSPIRES educative curriculum. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) calls for the integration of science and engineering through inquiry-based pedagogy that shifts the burden of thinking from the teacher to the student. This call is especially challenging for teachers untrained in inquiry teaching and engineering or science concepts. The INSPIRES educative curriculum materials and PD provided a mechanism for teachers to transform their teaching to meet the NGSS challenges. This study followed a longitudinal triangulation mixed methods design. Selected lessons were video recorded, scored on the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) rubric, and examined for qualitative trends. Year 1 results indicated that teachers had begun to transform their teaching and pointed to particular lessons within the INSPIRES curriculum that most facilitated the reform. Instructional practices of participants improved significantly as a result of the INSPIRES PD program and also aligned with previous, similar studies. These findings provide insights for rethinking the structure of professional development, particularly in the integrated use of an educative curriculum aligned with intended professional development goals.


Educative curriculum Engineering education Mixed methods Pedagogical reform Professional development 



We wish to thank the teachers, administrators, and program staff of our partner school district for their time and efforts in this study. The following UMBC students assisted in the collection of classroom recordings: Abby Singer, Ahmed Al-Salihi, Goureesh Paranjpe, Garrett Bockmiller, Marcus Foster, and Ekaterina DiBenedetto.

Funding Information

This project was funded by a Discovery Research K–12 National Science Foundation grant (DRL 1418183).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of Maryland Baltimore CountyBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.College of EngineeringVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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