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First National Technology-Engineering Assessment Reveals Much to Do

July 20, 2016

The results of the first National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL) Assessment, administered by the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) in 2014, were released May 17. The Museum of Science's National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®) and 6 cosponsors hosted a standing-room-only TEL briefing on Capitol Hill June 16.

Museum president and NCTL founder Ioannis Miaoulis noted that the NCTL has advocated for engineering standards and assessments since 2009 and that in 2001 Massachusetts became the first state to develop a K-12 statewide curriculum framework and assessments for technology/engineering. While excited that we are now measuring students' ability to apply technology and engineering skills, he said that we must do more because it is unacceptable that only 43 percent of tested 8th graders were ranked Proficient in applying technology and engineering skills successfully to real-life situations. The results were much worse for low-income and minority students.

Other speakers included Nate Ball, TV host of Design Squad, US Representatives Paul Tonko and Joe Kennedy (photo), Peggy Carr, acting commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Tonya Miles, NAGB member and engineer, and Claus Von Zastrow, chief operating officer and director of research at Change the Equation.

When asked how states can advance TEL, Miaoulis pointed to Section 1201 of the new Every Student Succeeds Act, (ESSA) that allows states -- whether or not they have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (which now include engineering) -- to use their federal funds to amend their own science assessments to include engineering design skills and concepts. Miaoulis also encouraged Congress to provide future funding for NAGB and NAEP to continue the TEL assessment in elementary, middle and high school. "If we don't benchmark our progress, we are setting ourselves up for failure," said Miaoulis.

Thanks to cosponsors ASEE, ASCE, ASME, ITEEA, Oracle, and SWE for making the briefing so successful.

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The Museum of Science, Boston

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