The Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments (TRE) study is one of three field investigations in NAEP's Technology-Based Assessment Project, which explores the use of new technology in NAEP. The TRE study was designed to demonstrate and explore innovative uses of computers in NAEP by developing two extended problem-solving scenarios.
TRE focuses on the physical science associated with helium gas balloons used for space exploration. Both scenarios—a Search scenario and a Simulation scenario—were developed for grade 8 students.
The TRE study was guided by the following principles:
Data were collected from a nationally representative sample of grade 8 students in the spring of 2003. Over 2,000 public school students participated, with approximately 1,000 students receiving each assessment scenario. Within each school, students were assigned randomly to one of the scenarios, which were presented on school computers via the World Wide Web or on laptop computers taken into the schools by NAEP staff.
For both scenarios, data were collected about student demographics; students' access to computers, their use of computers and attitudes toward them; and students' science coursetaking and activities in school. Additionally, at the beginning of each scenario, students answered prior knowledge questions designed to determine if they already had the computer and/or science knowledge and skills being assessed.
Results of the study are available in the report Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments.