In recent years, national reports in both Australia and the United States have called for increasing the number of engineers as a means of ensuring national prosperity. Both countries have also identified that this goal begins with primary and secondary schools through both increasing the number of students with the required science and mathematics abilities to be successful in engineering and developing programs to introduce students to engineering. While technology education has long been a part of the school curricula of both countries, the formal inclusion of engineering represents a relatively recent phenomenon. The development and definition of pre-college engineering is rapidly changing in both countries, presenting numerous opportunities to learn from comparisons of the approaches taken in Australia and the United States.
To explore the similarities and differences in the treatment of pre-college engineering in the USA and Australia.
This research is based on reviews of national and state reports addressing pre-college engineering education in Australia and the United States. We compare how engineering content is being incorporated into national and state curriculum frameworks. Finally, we review the different types and providers of precollege engineering activities, and explore the inclusion of pre-college engineering in the engineering education research community of each country.
Similarities exist across the two countries in focusing on the shortage of engineers in the labour market and the role that engineers play in maintaining national security and prosperity. There is variation in the inclusion of engineering in the educational programs of different states. However, the United States has a more developed pre-college engineering ecosystem, including a greater presence in the engineering education community.
Based on the results of this research, a tremendous opportunity exists for the Australian engineering education community to bring a greater research focus on P-12 engineering activities. Many states in Australia have developed 11th and 12th year engineering courses that could serve as a model for schools in the United States interested in implementing similar programs. Finally, national curriculum frameworks affecting engineering are in the process of being revised in both countries, which will have a significant effect on P-12 engineering in the schools in upcoming years.
- pre-college engineering,
- education policy,
- engineering policy
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/noah_salzman/1/