“pipeline” goals (i.e., preparation for engineering careers). The majority of programs were in the “pipeline” category. In France, for example, preparation for the academic study of engineering is preceded by a competitive selection process at the pre-college level with the goal of identifying the very best students for continued engineering education. Based on sample exam questions for prospective engineers in Israel, the committee inferred that the emphasis of the ORT engineering sciences program is on preparing students for post-secondary engineering education, rather than on expanding their general education.

Programs in some countries seem to serve both purposes. For example, in England and Wales, the General Certificate of Education, Engineering, has some features in common with the U.K.’s Design and Technology Curriculum, which is designed primarily for general education purposes. At the same time, to receive a General Certificate, students must master a good deal of specific knowledge in engineering domains, thus preparing them for further engineering studies.

Treatment of Engineering Concepts and Domains

The focus on core engineering concepts in international programs varies greatly. The U.K. materials, for example, treat the concepts of systems and control in some detail, while other concepts, such as optimization, are largely absent. The design process is evident, consistent with the influence of the design and technology paradigm. In the Israeli programs, the curriculum and sample exam questions focus on the concept of systems; related ideas, such as control, feedback, and parameters, are also treated in some detail. By contrast, the South African assessment materials have few explicit references to general engineering concepts; instead, they focus on ideas specific to electrical engineering, most of which are scientific rather than engineering concepts (e.g., voltage, current). Exam questions in the French Série de Sciences de l’Ingénieur explicitly refer to engineering concepts, including system analysis, requirements, and optimization.

Overall, the international pre-college engineering programs include a wide range of engineering domains. The U.K. General Certificate of Education, Engineering, reflects the compulsory pre-college design and technology curriculum; thus it explores the traditional disciplines of electrical and mechanical engineering, as well as less traditional areas, such as food technology and biotechnology. The exam questions for Australia’s Higher School Certificate in Engineering (HSCE) Studies address issues in telecom-



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement