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In this paper we develop a model for the capabilities required by principals for effective Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) leadership. The model underpinned a large national cross‐sectional research and development project across Australian states in both primary and secondary schools. This model is developed via synthesis of research literature across leadership and STEM education. The model consists of five dimensions of principals' STEM capability: (1) STEM discipline‐specific and integrated knowledge and practices; (2) contexts; (3) dispositions; (4) tools; and (5) critical orientation. These dimensions represent distinct, but interrelated, capacities required by principals to establish and maintain positive STEM learning cultures within schools. Elaborations have been provided, in the form of capabilities, for each of these dimensions. The model has the potential for shaping principals' STEM leadership development trajectories and structuring targeted professional learning programmes for principals, teachers and other members of the school community.
Developing computational thinking (CT) skills at an early age can help develop literacy, science, and mathematics skills; however, CT instruction in grades K-2 remains limited. This study examined the perceptions of 45 K-2 teachers from 30 school districts before and after a CT professional development (PD) experience. The PD included two online sessions focused on teaching educators how to integrate the Sphero Indi into their classrooms. Along with supplemental and demographic questions, Rich et al.’s (2021a) Teacher Beliefs about Coding and Computational Thinking (TBaCCT) instrument was utilized to examine participants’ beliefs before and after the PD. Paired samples t-tests of the responses revealed that teachers reported significant increases with moderate to large effect sizes in all four constructs (value, CT self-efficacy, coding self-efficacy, and teaching efficacy). Supplemental pre and post questions revealed a significant increase, but low effect size, regarding the extent that participants’ believed CT could enhance student engagement, literacy skills, and mathematics skills. A qualitative analysis of participants’ responses revealed numerous literacy and mathematics concepts were identified for integration with CT lessons. This study identifies barriers to consider when integrating CT instruction, provides insight for future PD efforts, and provides ideas for integrating CT to enhance the teaching literacy and mathematics in grades K-2.
Change strategies may leverage interpersonal relationships and conversations to spread teaching innovations among science faculty. Knowledge sharing refers to the process by which individuals transfer information and thereby spread innovative ideas within an organization. We use knowledge sharing as a lens for identifying factors that encourage productive teaching-related conversations between individuals, characterizing the context and content of these discussions, and understanding how peer interactions may shape instructional practices. In this study, we interview 19 science faculty using innovative teaching practices about the teaching-focused conversations they have with different discussion partners.
This qualitative study describes characteristics of the relationship between discussion partners, what they discuss with respect to teaching, the amount of help-seeking that occurs, and the perceived impacts of these conversations on their teaching. We highlight the role of office location and course overlap in bringing faculty together and characterize the range of topics they discuss, such as course delivery and teaching strategies. We note the tendency of faculty to seek out partners with relevant expertise and describe how faculty perceive their discussion partners to influence their instructional practices and personal affect. Finally, we elaborate on how these themes vary depending on the relationship between discussion partners.
The knowledge sharing framework provides a useful lens for investigating how various factors affect faculty conversations around teaching. Building on this framework, our results lead us to propose two hypotheses for how to promote sharing teaching knowledge among faculty, thereby identifying productive directions for further systematic inquiry. In particular, we propose that productive teaching conversations might be cultivated by fostering collaborative teaching partnerships and developing departmental structures to facilitate sharing of teaching expertise. We further suggest that social network theories and other examinations of faculty behavior can be useful approaches for researching the mechanisms that drive teaching reform.
As K-12 STEM education moves toward the integrated application of mathematics and science concepts in collabora-tive and complex real-world problem solving, there is a commensurate need to redefine what it means to be a STEM teacher in the early grades. Elementary teachers need more than professional development with innovative content and curriculum to be ready to integrate STEM; they need the agency that comes with a strong sense of who they are and who they want to become as STEM teachers. In this commentary, we propose a model for integrated STEM teacher identity with the goal of building a robust definition that is applicable to multiple educational contexts. The model captures the tensions between elementary teachers' multiple identities as STEM learners, professional teachers , and STEM education innovators. Our proposed model structures the complexity of these roles as an intertwining of components from extant professional teacher identity and STEM learner identity models. The careful cultivation of integrated STEM identities has the power to increase teachers' readiness to not only try but to sustain innovative curriculum. Teacher educators and professional development facilitators can use this model to provide more person-alized support to teachers. Recommendations for future refinement of this model are offered along with implications for more equitable access to integrated STEM experiences for all students.
There is inconclusive evidence on the ability of scientific research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education to scale-up from one context to another and ultimately become institutionalized. The dearth of evidence draws focus on how organizations change and evolve or the process of organizational learning. We designed this systematic review of the literature to uncover to what extent and how organizational theory has been leveraged within STEM interventions or as a research tool to inform the policies and practices of STEM education organizations. Unlike previous reviews, we explicitly focused on how organizational learning informs cultural transformation toward the success of racially and ethnically underrepresented minority (URM) students in STEM. The research question was: How has organizational theory and learning informed the potential for STEM education to center the success of URM students? Our results reveal that STEM entities that did not leverage organizational theory consistently fell into either the “decision trap” identified by Langely et al. created by ignoring temporal structures or deemed the innovation threatening, as Kezar suggested. We conclude with practical recommendations for the design of STEM education interventions.
In this article, we report on a typology of the demands of statistical and mathematical products (StaMPs) embedded in media items related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The typology emerged from a content analysis of a large purposive sample of diverse media items selected from digital news sources based in four countries. The findings encompass nine categories of StaMPs: (1) descriptive quantitative information, (2) models, predictions, causality and risk, (3) representations and displays, (4) data quality and strength of evidence, (5) demographics and comparative thinking, (6) heterogeneity and contextual factors, (7) literacy and language demands, (8) multiple information sources, and (9) critical demands. We illustrate these categories via selected media items, substantiate them through relevant research literature, and point to categories that encompass new or enhanced types of demands. Our findings offer insights into the rich set of capabilities that citizens (including both young people and adults) must possess in order to engage these mass media demands, critically analyze statistical and mathematical information in the media, evaluate the meaning and credibility of news reports, understand public policies, and make evidenced-informed judgments. Our conclusions point to the need to revise current curricular frameworks and conceptual models (e.g., regarding statistical and probability literacy, adult numeracy), to better incorporate notions such as blended knowledge, vagueness, risk, strength of evidence, and criticality. Furthermore, more attention is needed to the literacy and language demands of media items involving statistical and mathematical information. Implications for further research and educational practice are discussed.
As one of the most pressing societal challenges we face in the United States and globally, COVID-19 has further exposed injustices disproportionately impacting minoritized groups. Other challenges, including climate change and sustainability, likewise disproportionately impact minoritized groups. In K-12 classrooms, unprecedented societal challenges disproportionately impacting minoritized groups present an unprecedented opportunity to reframe the role of phenomena and problems for promoting justice in STEM education and society broadly. The purpose of this commentary is to examine the role of phenomena and problems in traditional and contemporary approaches in science and engineering education and propose how STEM education can address pressing societal challenges in the coming years. Based on A Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Research Council, 2012) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013), contemporary science education expects students to make sense of phenomena and design solutions to problems similar to how scientists and engineers go about their professional work. Building on and extending contemporary approaches, we propose future approaches in STEM education broadly that address pressing societal challenges while centering justice. After discussing the role of phenomena and problems in traditional, contemporary, and proposed future approaches, we discuss the roles of students and instruction across these approaches. We close by calling for the STEM education community to seize this moment to reframe its role in addressing increasingly complex, prevalent, and intractable societal challenges by centering justice for minoritized groups in schools and in society.
Today’s learners are engaging in study where access to knowledge is easier than it ever has been in human history. Rapid advancement of technology and the increasing ease with which communication and interaction can occur has dramatically changed the landscape in which teachers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) operate. The contemporary skills that students are required to possess include inter alia problem solving, creativity, teamwork abilities, communication skills and emotional intelligence. Despite the universal acceptance of their importance, these skills are commonly cited as underdeveloped and in addition, are still accompanied by outmoded ‘traditional’ forms of teaching and assessment. While the approaches of twentieth‐century education were successful in developing knowledge stores, the ubiquity of access to knowledge—coupled with the constantly changing nature of the world today—requires alternative conceptions of teaching and learning. This article focuses primarily on an exploration of learning metaphors and teaching with the overall lens of creating self‐regulated and furthermore, self‐determined learners. The article begins with an exploration of learning in STEM education and a critique of the pedagogical perspective, discussing why this epistemology may be insufficient for contemporary STEM learning. The article then considers an alternative and potentially more contemporary notion; the emergent pedagogic space. The article presents a theoretical model to conceptualise learning in STEM education, with the goal of informing both practice and research. The realisation of this proposed emergent pedagogical space is explored through an applied case study from a design and technology context.
Operationalizing practices for equity has eluded the educational community for some time. This exploratory, mixed methods study examined the practices, operationalized by 29 competencies, of ten school leadership teams in one urban, US school district engaged in the initial stages of equity systems change (ICS for Equity™). ICS for Equity is a system-wide, capacity-building framework and process for creating equitable and socially just outcomes for students. The framework guides systemic, educational change for school systems within and beyond the United States. Findings suggested that overall school leadership team competency levels for early-stage ICS for Equity implementation met or exceeded the expectations of district leaders, potentially providing some evidentiary support for ICS as a capacity/competency building model for equity systems change. We also discuss the factors that supported or inhibited team competency growth. Implications for districts engaged or considering equity work are provided.
Numerous policy interventions promote gender equity within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) higher education enrolments and careers. Despite this, women in many countries continue to be under-represented and encounter barriers to access and career progression. These concerns are often attributed to gendered technical/technological confidence and gendered perceptions of career. Using an online self-assessment tool, this study reports the employability confidence of 12,708 university students. Utilising five employability constructs to assess the confidence of STEM and non-STEM women and men, we found that women in STEM were often more confident than men. Moreover, women in STEM reported higher confidence than women in non-STEM. These novel findings might help inform policies and strategies to attract and retain women in STEM degrees and careers. We emphasise the need to focus on career transition and advancement support given that women are confident whilst studying, yet less likely than men to advance in their careers.
With the completion of six publication cycle years (August 2014 to July 2020), the International Journal of STEM Education has achieved important milestones in promoting the identity of STEM education as a distinct field. In this editorial, I specifically share the journal’s achievements since August 2019 and its emerging trends in leading research publications in STEM education, which reflect not only the journal’s growth with on-going strong support from researchers and readers internationally, but also the gradual formation of a broad field identity of STEM education.
China has great student participation in STEM education. Chinese society has a progressive and positive attitude towards STEM as it is considered to provide more opportunities in life. Teachers play a vital role in the success of any STEM program in K-12 schools. However, teachers are facing instructional challenges because of the interdisciplinary nature of the STEM curriculum and the current typical school structure. The success of the STEM programs depends on teachers’ beliefs and their knowledge in adapting to instructional implementation of STEM concepts.
The data ( n = 216) was collected from STEM primary and secondary teachers from 25 provinces in mainland China. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was applied, and Pearson’s correlation analysis was used to examine the correlation between Chinese STEM teachers’ beliefs, knowledge, implementation, and the intrinsic challenges of STEM education; t tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were performed to ascertain whether there were differences. The structural equation model (SEM) was applied to identify interrelationships. The results indicated that Chinese STEM teachers encounter higher-level intrinsic challenges to instructional implementations based on their beliefs and knowledge. Teachers who utilize their experience of teaching science as their main discipline and then attempt to integrate STEM using mathematics and engineering are likely to encounter higher-level intrinsic challenges in implementation.
The intrinsic challenges perceived by Chinese teachers in the practice of STEM education can be predicted by their beliefs and knowledge base. Teachers who understand the nature and pedagogy of STEM education are more likely to encounter lower-level intrinsic challenges of STEM teaching, while teachers who utilize their main discipline when conducting integrated STEM learning activities through modeling based on science, technology, engineering, and mathematical problem situations are more likely to encounter higher-level intrinsic challenges. This study also reveals that there are some significant differences in the level of STEM teachers’ beliefs, knowledge base, instructional practice, and their intrinsic challenges based on their teaching grade, seniority, and experience of STEM training and teaching.
Inquiry-based teaching (IBT) and improving school climate are the two most commonly used strategies for fostering learning and critical thinking skills in students. IBT has positioned itself as one of the most recommended “active” methodologies for developing intellectual autonomy and complex thought processes, whereas school climate is considered to be a protective factor that helps mitigate adverse conditions and has a positive impact on teaching and learning. This study investigates the relationship between IBT and school climate with the academic performance of Colombian students in the PISA 2015 test.
Using a two-level Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM), the results show a negative association between IBT and students’ scientific performance in the test. However, results show a positive association between IBT and students’ self-reported critical thinking skills. Results also show that school climate is a positive moderating factor on learning. Contextual factors such as the student’s grade level at the time of sitting for the PISA test, gender, and socioeconomic characteristics are strong predictors of science achievement in PISA.
These results reveal the need for additional research on the effect of the so-called active methodologies and school context on student learning. Regarding IBT, it seems that its influence is greater on student’s perception and motivation, than in acquisition of scientific knowledge. Positive school climate is a protective factor that can help to improve student learning. In Colombia, the quality of students’ educational outcomes has largely been attributed to their socioeconomic background. However, the results of this study show that, although students’ and schools’ socioeconomic characteristics continue to be strong predictors of academic performance, teaching practices can have an even larger impact.
Article in the Journal of Research in STEM Education, available on https://j-stem.net/index.php/jstem/article/view/79/60.
The provision of effective leadership in STEM education is essential to support teachers to consider approaches to STEM and to carry them out effectively. Principals’ perceptions of STEM teaching and learning are, therefore, significant. In this paper, we report on the perceptions of 21 primary and secondary school principals through their completion of the Draw a STEM Learning Environment Test (D-STEM), assessed through a customised rubric. Findings revealed that the participant principals maintained a diversity of interpretations of STEM learning environments primarily equated to the use of student-centred pedagogies in classrooms. Very few responses depicted and/or described teaching and learning practices anchored in realistic problems, which can enable the integration of individual STEM disciplines, and engage students in the translation of concepts across multiple representations. The use of representational tools remained implicit or was absent in most of the responses. Findings are discussed along with methodological issues, and implications and future research directions are suggested.
STEM education has received increasing attention in recent years. However, developing valid and reliable assessment of interdisciplinary learning in STEM has been a challenge. This study is a comprehensive review of assessment of interdisciplinary STEM education during the last two decades. A total of 49 empirical research articles were collected from an initial library of 635 articles focusing on interdisciplinary STEM education. A two-dimensional framework was developed to examine the literature. The first dimension concerns the nature of disciplines being assessed and includes three categories: monodisciplinary, interdiscipline, and transdiscipline. The second dimension concerns the learning objectives and includes four aspects: knowledge, skill, practice, and affective domain. The results show that most assessments focused on assessments of monodisciplinary knowledge, monodisciplinary affective domains, and transdisciplinary affective domains. Although many programs aimed to improve students' interdisciplinary understanding or skills, their assessments did not align with their aims. Based on the review, future directions are proposed for developing assessments for interdisciplinary STEM educational programs.
With the rapid increase in the number of scholarly publications on STEM education in recent years, reviews of the status and trends in STEM education research internationally support the development of the field. For this review, we conducted a systematic analysis of 798 articles in STEM education published between 2000 and the end of 2018 in 36 journals to get an overview about developments in STEM education scholarship. We examined those selected journal publications both quantitatively and qualitatively, including the number of articles published, journals in which the articles were published, authorship nationality, and research topic and methods over the years. The results show that research in STEM education is increasing in importance internationally and that the identity of STEM education journals is becoming clearer over time.
Teachers’ beliefs play an important role in how teachers think about how students learn, and how content should be organized and taught. Integrated STEM is pushing the boundaries of some of the traditional assumptions in education—disciplined-based courses, courses taught independently by teachers, standards and content-driven, and no collaborative planning time for teachers. Six teachers, located in two high schools, participated in a year-long program to develop interdisciplinary collaboration to implement integrated STEM learning in their courses. A qualitative instrumental case study of the two teams of teachers was conducted to gain insights and understandings of the teachers’ beliefs and instructional practices of STEM integration through interdisciplinary approaches in a complex system (i.e., hydroponics).
Themes regarding features, beliefs and practices, and challenges emerged from cross-case analysis of the teachers’ stories, which resulted in two interdisciplinary collaboration models, multi-classroom and extracurricular activity, from each of the teams at each of the two high schools. Multi-classroom and extracurricular activity models had some resemblances, but also had differences. Both cases had the same goals to use real-world problems to help students see STEM connections, learn STEM knowledge and skills, and apply STEM knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems.
Based on teachers’ beliefs and their interdisciplinary STEM collaboration practices, three components were identified. Team size, teaching goal, and collaboration structure highly affect a successful interdisciplinary STEM collaboration model in high school settings. The study also contributes to expend the concept of a continuum of STEM approaches to curriculum integration, disciplinary, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary (Vasquez, Sneider, & Comer, STEM lesson essentials: Integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, 2013), and provides frameworks for structuring a successful interdisciplinary collaboration model in high school settings.
The aim of this study is to examine how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is implemented in the published literature. To accomplish this, the educational experiences published in indexed magazines in the main Web of Science collection during the 2013–2018 period were examined, with special attention paid to (a) The STEM concepts defined in the theoretical frameworks; (b) the STEM disciplines that intervene; (c) the possible benefits of STEM education; and (d) the key aspects for the success of the educational intervention. The results indicate that the theoretical frameworks used normally focus more on the variables that are the object of the study than on STEM education, and that there are multiple interpretations of what STEM education is, and these interpretations do usually involve the integrated appearance of the four disciplines that make up the acronym.
Mathematical and scientific knowledge are integral to preparing our population to be actively engaged and responsible citizens. Science and mathematics education, however, has mainly focused on concepts and skills detached from societal implications. In this paper we present an interdisciplinary international design research study in which we developed teaching and professional development materials connecting mathematics and science education to citizenship education. We outline the design research process, its theoretical basis as well as the design products. The study shows that it is indeed possible to develop such approaches supporting active citizenship and thereby the development of 21st century skills in mathematics education, thus strengthening the role of mathematics education in the STEM field.
This study identified, analyzed and evaluated the impact on management styles of school heads, teachers instructional competence and school performance in Abuyog South District, Leyte Division. Using ex post facto descriptive-correlational research design involving twelve (12) school heads, one hundred eighteen (118) teachers, and five hundred ninety (590) students through purposive sampling. Most of the school heads are in their old and middle age, married, and evenly divided in terms of sex. All school heads are pursuing their post graduate studies in one form or another, and majority have less than 10 years of administrative experience.
The data revealed that the school heads management style have a strong positive impact on teachers instructional competence and a moderate impact on school performance. The high competency level of teachers in instructional competencies and above-average or moving towards mastery in school performance in Abuyog South District, Leyte Division. The school heads employed a combination of transformational and transactional management style. However, for school performance, given the moderate magnitude of the relationship between school heads management style and school performance. The findings of this study offer valuable insights as to how school heads management style impact teachers instructional competence and school performance.
Keywords: Impact; School Heads; Management Styles; Instructional Competence; and School Performance
The rapidly evolving and global field of STEM education has placed ever-increasing calls for interdisciplinary research and the development of new and deeper scholarship in and for STEM education. In this editorial, we focus on the topic of thinking, first with a brief overview of related studies and conceptions in the past. We then problematize a traditional conception of thinking in the context of STEM education, and propose possible alternative perspectives about thinking areas for future research.
For schools to include quality STEM education, it is important to understand teachers’ beliefs and perceptions related to STEM talent development. Teachers, as important persons within a student’s talent development, hold prior views and experiences that will influence their STEM instruction. This study attempts to understand what is known about teachers’ perceptions of STEM education by examining existing literature.
Study inclusion criteria consisted of empirical articles, which aligned with research questions, published in a scholarly journal between 2000 and 2016 in English. Participants included in primary studies were preK-12 teachers. After quality assessment, 25 articles were included in the analysis. Thematic analysis was used to find themes within the data. Findings indicate that while teachers value STEM education, they reported barriers such as pedagogical challenges, curriculum challenges, structural challenges, concerns about students, concerns about assessments, and lack of teacher support. Teachers felt supports that would improve their effort to implement STEM education included collaboration with peers, quality curriculum, district support, prior experiences, and effective professional development.
Recommendations for practice include quality in-service instruction over STEM pedagogy best practices and district support of collaboration time with peer teachers. Recommendations for future research are given.
The relationship between education policy and workforce policy has long been uneasy. It is widely believed in many quarters of American society that the U.S. education system is in decline and, what’s more, that it bears significant responsibility for a wide range of social ills, including stagnant wages, increasing inequality, high unemployment, and overall economic lethargy. However, as analyzed in this paper, the preponderance of evidence suggests that the U.S. education system has produced ample supplies of students to respond to STEM labor market demand. The “pipeline” of STEM-potential students is similarly strong and expanding.
With the expansion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) schools all over the United States and the world, new roles for teachers are being created, and with these roles, identities are evolving. However, these roles and identities remain an ill-defined area in STEM. The purpose of this paper was to explore the developing STEM teachers’ identities in emerging STEM schools, answering two research questions: (1) How do teachers define their roles as STEM teachers within a STEM school? (2) What do teachers identify as being important characteristics of STEM teachers? A multiple case study design was used to explore the research questions within a bounded context of two emerging STEM schools. Data for this study were drawn from semi-structured interviews conducted with eight teachers from two developing STEM schools within a large urban district in the Midwestern United States. Teams of teachers at each of the schools worked throughout the year to develop and implement their vision for STEM.
Using an inductive data analysis process, three major themes that characterized a STEM teacher identity emerged. These were the unique nature of STEM teachers’ identity; professional characteristics of STEM; and personal characteristics of STEM teachers. Collaboration, flexibility, awareness of students’ needs, and advocates of equity and inclusion were identified as pivotal characteristics of STEM teachers.
This study concluded that STEM teachers’ identity can be viewed as a dynamic, evolving process that results from the interaction of personal and professional traits within new educational experiences exemplified by the STEM endeavor in their schools. An alignment between teachers' personal philosophy and STEM understanding is essential for the success in teaching in STEM schools.
This study analyses the de facto emerging intra-school competition between the Israeli Ministry of Education (MOE) and external organisations at public Israeli secondary schools by exploring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programmes. Given on-going privatisation processes within the education system, the participation of external organisations in schools has become significant, greatly affecting municipalities’ authority and schools principals’ autonomy. This case-study provides a comprehensive examination of this new form of intra-school competition and its possible impact on schools, based on in-depth interviews with school principals, representatives of STEM programmes, and officials at the MOE and a local education authority, as well as analysis of supporting documents. We show that despite its supposed regulatory role, the MOE is pushed to function as an additional player in this quasi-market, competing with external organisations and substituting its regulatory roles for additional market-player opportunities. Theoretical and empirical implications are suggested.
International Journal of STEM Education
access here https://rdcu.be/49ME
Despite increasing attention to STEM education worldwide, there is considerable uncertainty as to what constitutes STEM education and what it means in terms of curriculum and student outcomes. The purpose of this study was to investigate the commonalities and variations in educators’ conceptualizations of STEM education. Sensemaking theory framed our analysis of ideas that were being selected and retained in relation to professional learning experiences in three contexts: two traditional middle schools, a STEM-focused school, and state-wide STEM professional development. Concept maps and interview transcripts from 34 educators holding different roles were analyzed: STEM and non-STEM teachers, administrators, and STEM professional development providers.
The purpose of this article is to provide insight into how teachers identify initial ideas for the design of numeracy tasks. A design-based research approach was employed utilising classroom observations, video-stimulated recall techniques and semi-structured teacher interviews. Data collection and analysis were informed by a rich model of numeracy as well as generic principals of task design synthesised from relevant literature. Data analysis indicated that there were at least two approaches to generating ideas for numeracy tasks both of which were compatible with the principles of task design employed in this study.
There is general agreement about the importance of STEM education in Australia and reports cite the need for a workforce with STEM skills to drive economic prosperity and the contribution that STEM can make in solving the ‘wicked’ problems of the world via science and technology. This literature and policy review outlines the complex context related to STEM learning and focuses on student outcomes, the teacher workforce and the curriculum.
The shortage of graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), has led to numerous attempts to increase students’ interest in STEM. One emerging approach that has the potential to improve students’ motivation for STEM is integrated STEM education. Nonetheless, the implementation of this new instructional strategy is not straightforward due to the lack of consensus about instructional practices in integrated STEM. This paper contributes to this challenge by providing a well-defined framework for instructional practices in integrated STEM in secondary education, based on the results of a systematic review of existing literature. The framework contains five key principles: integration of STEM content, problem-centered learning, inquiry-based learning, design-based learning and cooperative learning. The proposed framework has several benefits, including its applicability in the classroom and the possibility to describe integrated STEM on multiple dimensions. Nonetheless, further research is necessary to investigate the effects of integrated STEM on students’ cognitive and affective learning outcomes.
The aim of this study is to construct a STEM competencies assessment framework and provide validity evidence by empirically testing its structure. Common interdisciplinary assessment frameworks for STEM seem to be scarce in the literature. Many studies use students’ mathematics or science scores obtained from large scale assessments or exams to assess STEM achievement. In the current framework, the multidimensional and integrated structure of the STEM competencies was addressed by taking into account science, technology, engineering and mathematics domains. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-related problems that required mathematical calculations were used as a medium to develop an assessment tool for this framework. A test was developed based on this assessment framework and items were calibrated using the Item Response Theory. We tested the structure of the framework through confirmatory factor analysis by collecting data from 8th grade students. The empirical findings supported the structure of the STEM assessment framework.
With ongoing underrepresentation of women in STEM fields, it is necessary to explore ways to maintain girls' STEM interest throughout elementary and middle school. This study is situated within the context of Designs in STEM (pseudonym), an out‐of‐school program that engages urban youth in authentic STEM experiences. Participants were 30 girls attending Designs in STEM in grades four and five. Participants were interviewed about their STEM interest, out‐of‐school versus in‐school STEM learning experiences, and how gender relates to STEM success. Several key findings emerged. First, although students' prior school experiences with mathematics resulted in less positive dispositions toward mathematics than other STEM disciplines, their experiences at Designs in STEM revealed that mathematics could be fun and valuable when used for real‐world purposes. Second, students found Designs in STEM to be more engaging and inspiring due to the context and pedagogies employed by Designs in STEM instructors. Third, despite observing girls' behavior that was more aligned with academic success, participants still identified STEM advantages for boys. Finally, participants defined success and intelligence in STEM based on speed and tracking. Discussion focuses on the need to consider how school‐based mathematics instruction may serve as a barrier to girls' STEM interest and involvement.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) each have distinct epistemological foundations for the production of knowledge, yet a recent international trend in education is to integrate these fields as an approach to teaching and learning. According to the literature, integrated STEM education involves concurrent teaching of two or more knowledge domains from the collection of traditional knowledge silos that constitute STEM. The rationale for integrated STEM education is grounded in a perceived need to simulate the complexity of real-world situations, where examples of integrated STEM tend to evolve over time, through the need to solve problems in naturalistic contexts by teams of researchers with different disciplinary expertise. In educational settings, each school STEM discipline has evolved with pedagogical responses to simulate real-world contexts such as science inquiry or mathematical problem solving, however, the notion of integrated STEM adds layers of complexity to pedagogical responses. Our aim in this chapter is to address this complexity from the perspective of integrated STEM in initial teacher education programs, based on critical reflections of our recent teaching experiences and learning experiences of our students. We explore the demands on initial teacher education STEM students in terms of the diversity of analytical epistemological orientations, and we consider possible strategies for understanding synthetic epistemological orientations that may inform better our understanding of learning through integrated STEM.
This work arises from the concern that investigations into children’s computing have largely focused on learning to code as an isolated competency. This approach frames technology as a means to an end and unnecessarily narrows conceptual activity in the classroom to the (re)production of computational abstractions. Our approach is to argue for considering computational modeling and programming as part of a larger ensemble of STEM work in the elementary classroom, broadening and deepening what it means to code to include multiple forms and genres of representations. The distinction between focusing on computing as an isolated competency and our approach can be understood in light of diSessa’s distinction between “material intelligence” and “literacies.” DiSessa (2001) argued that while material intelligence can be understood as meaningful use of a technology, literacies are a lens through which we create, understand, and communicate with the world. It is our view that in elementary classrooms, computational modeling and programming can cease to exist merely as material intelligence and become a core component of scientific practice, particularly when activity is structured in certain ways.
The development and implementation of integrated STEM curricula are largely determined by the extent to which opportunities can be promoted or restricted within the target school system. The educational system is defined by three essential features: standards, assessment, and teacher education and professional development. Research efforts have been devoted to the development of integrated curricula, the measurement of their impact on students’ interests and career choices, and teacher preparation. Few studies have looked into possible approaches to examine integrated knowledge and practices or have discussed assessment issues for integrated STEM education. This chapter draws attention to assessment issues (i.e., types and functions) in STEM education using three steps. First, we explored current assessment issues considered and approaches used for STEM learning through a review of research on STEM. Second, the review findings were further examined and are discussed using the perspective of the assessment triangle. Third, we propose a multilevel-multifaceted STEM assessment framework to support the design and development of useful assessments for the emergent problems in STEM learning.
In times of rapid technological innovation and global challenges, the development of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) competencies becomes important. They improve the personal scientific literacy of citizens, enhance international economic competitiveness and are an essential foundation for responsible citizenship, including the ethical custodianship of our planet. The latest programme for international student assessment results, however, indicate that even in economically mature countries such as those in Europe, and the USA and Australia, approximately 20% of students lack sufficient skills in mathematics or science. This trend serves to highlight the urgent need for action in relation to STEM education. While it is widely acknowledged that mathematics underpins all other STEM disciplines, there is clear evidence it plays an understated role in integrated STEM education. In this article, we address an element of this concern by examining the role of mathematics within STEM education and how it might be advanced through three interdisciplinary approaches: (1) twenty-first century skills; (2) mathematical modelling; and (3) education for responsible citizenship. At the end of the paper we discuss the potential for research in relation to these three aspects and point to what work needs to be done in the future.
Increasingly, educational systems are appreciating the importance of middle leaders leading educational improvement in schools. Schools depend on middle leaders to lead site-based educational development in areas including curriculum development, teacher professional learning and student learning improvement. Middle leaders are in a unique but complex position where they influence both executive leadership and teachers within the school organisation. Adopting case study methodology to investigate the practices and influence of middle leaders leading a school-based educational development project, three semi-structured interviews and artefacts from two middle leaders were collected over eight months. The theory of practice architectures afforded an examination of data to explain the conditions and arrangements enabling and constraining the middle leaders’ practices of influence. The findings showed middle leaders’ influence was dependent on executive leadership support, time, formal role descriptions and trusting relationship. Furthermore, the results reveal middle leaders can influence educational development at the school level through advocating for, collaborating with, and empowering colleagues to support teacher ownership of site-based projects. Of interest, this study showed influence can be reciprocal, between middle leaders and colleagues, and between middle leaders and executive leadership.
As more and more science teachers in the United States are now expected to implement STEM education in their classrooms, it is important to understand how teachers conceptualise STEM education. This information can then be used to provide teachers with meaningful support as they move towards implementation of STEM education. Understanding that not all representations of STEM are equal, this mixed-methods study used a phenomenographic lens to examine science teachers’ perceptions of eight different models of STEM education through photo elicitation interviews. Part of this was done though an activity in which teachers ranked different models of STEM education by arranging them in a continuum. Findings reveal that teachers are most drawn to models of STEM education that show STEM beyond school settings and that include clear intersections between the disciplines represented in the acronym. This study sheds light on the importance of creating a shared conception of STEM education in order to have productive conversations across various stakeholders within the STEM education community.
In this article I describe an approach to task design and implementation that addresses the broad capabilities common to 21st Century Skills and the STEM education agenda. Principles of task design and implementation were co-constructed by ten teachers and a single researcher during a longitudinal study that took place over 3 years. A vignette that draws on observation data from a Year 1 class and a post-lesson teacher interview is used to illustrate the possibilities that exist for mathematics to support critical reasoning and enquiry in primary science. The article concludes with a reflection on the role of teachers in designing and implementing tasks aimed at promoting effective STEM teaching and learning.
A number of empirical studies and evaluations in Norway and Sweden shows variabilities in the degree to which the municipalities succeed in their endeavors to support school principals’ instructional leadership practices. In response to this situation, the Norwegian and Swedish directorates of education have developed a joint collaborative design for practice learning of instructional leadership. Based on findings from two separate studies, the purpose of this paper is to contribute to theory development and improved practice for school district administrators and their subordinated school leaders.
The study draws on the data from participants who completed the program in June 2015, June 2016 and June 2017, respectively. The data are based on individual reflection documents from students on their learning and new leadership practices 4 months, 16 months and 28 months after the end of the program.
The project subjected to this study, labeled “Benchlearning,” involved learning from experiences of others, observational learning, dialogic group learning and in the final round translating what is learnt into the social and cultural context in which the individual school principal’s school is situated. When participating school principals experience observation-based learning together with trusted colleagues, followed by vicarious learning from these experiences in their schools, the authors see some facilitating factors to be of particular importance: learning infrastructure, digital tools, compulsory tasks associated with preparation and subsequent experiments with their teachers. Emerging from the analysis was a systematic balancing act of autonomy and structure running through the various learning activities. Finally, a strong evidence was found that developing core competence in digital learning and formative assessment among teaching staff required enhanced distributed leadership across the whole school organization. By sharing leadership tasks on instructional issues with teachers and other non-leaders, principals succeeded in leveling up instructional leadership significantly.
The implications of the study can be summed up in the following four principles. First, policy makers should take into accounts the fact that principals’ motivation and willingness to initiate change processes can be created in a synergy between structured school visits and engagement in learning groups based on a sound theoretical foundation. Second, within a socially contracted practice in a well-designed learning group, it is possible to raise principals’ level of self-efficacy. Third, a systematic reflection process on authentic practice is an example of how principals can develop their metacognitive capacity and how knowledge can be transformed into new practice. Finally, educators should be trained to be process leaders in order to create a balance between demand and support in promoting principals’ learning of new instructional leadership practices.
School district administrators should take into accounts the fact that changing practices will be supported by sense-making processes involving discussions about how new instructional practices are justified. Specifically, shifts in talk and actions will also involve shifts in the ways people relate to each other and how they relate to their internal context. Further, leadership programs should include trying out new practices as the focal learning mode, accompanied by individual and collective reflective activities.
The findings of the study underscore the mutual interdependence of distributed leadership and student-centered focus accompanied with the school’s learning capacity as enabling conditions for principals’ practice learning in the field of instructional leadership.
This study investigates factors that influenced the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subject enrolment decisions of Year 12 students in Australia. Structural equation modelling (SEM) is used to develop a model using Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) data with participating students (N = 7442) from 356 schools. An adapted version of the theory of planned behaviour (TPB), a behavioural prediction model, is used as the guiding conceptual framework. Students’ demographic background, attitudes towards science and achievement in science and mathematics at age 15 are used as predictors for subsequent enrolment in STEM subjects in Year 12. Gender, socio-economic status (SES) and immigrant status (native vs. non-native) are shown to be contributing factors. The personal value of science, enjoyment of science, self-concept in science and achievement (mathematics and science) are mediating factors in the model. These findings provide schools, policymakers and educational advisors with a greater understanding of the factors that influence Australian students’ decisions of whether to enrol in a STEM subject at Year 12. Evidence provided allows key stakeholders to take a more targeted approach to enhance STEM participation for students from varying demographic backgrounds.
Although there continue to be many efforts to increase STEM interest in the younger audience, shortages in the STEM fields continue to exist. In order to combat this shortage, this study sought to implement supplementary hands-on, problem-based learning into the classroom to positively influence teenagers’ attitudes regarding STEM and IT through an industry outreach partnership. This study was seeking the implications on students’ career readiness skills as well as gauging career interest towards STEM fields. The study also examined STEM and IT from the educator side to see if educators, with no technology endorsements, had the time and ability to correctly implement the activities. These two items have large implications for future supplementary STEM-IT implementations in the classroom from both the student and educator perspectives. In order to fully capture these two diverse viewpoints, 645 students and their educators were surveyed in a pre-posttest format. One of the most noteworthy findings was the students lack of knowledge regarding IT, including what the acronym meant, technical skills needed and career expectations. Educators also reported an increase in knowledge and appreciation of the real-world, hands-on curricular activities. Again, these results indicate significant finds which could have an impact on implementing supplementary STEM-IT curricula in the middle grades.
The broad discipline of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) has become a global focus for education and employment. Currently, Indigenous students are less likely to engage in STEM programs and careers than in other disciplines such as education, health, social sciences and arts. In Australia, schools and tertiary institutions are investigating opportunities to increase Indigenous participation in STEM. In 2016, the XE Maths project documented a series of six case studies of diverse Australian tertiary programs focussed on increasing Indigenous participation in STEM [Paige et al. 2016. Strengthening Indigenous Participation and Practice in STEM: University Initiatives for Equity and Excellence. Magill: University of South Australia]. This paper documents Charles Darwin University's initiatives, including the Whole of Community Engagement program, which provides pathways and enabling supports to potential university students across six very remote communities in the Northern Territory. Capacity within communities, a long-term commitment and vision, and culturally responsive approaches such as both-ways STEM education are identified as central to increasing remote Indigenous community engagement with tertiary-level STEM.
STEM Education is sweeping the United States, prompted primarily by the recent adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. The surge in interest in STEM Education is beneficial for local schools and communities, and promises to positively impact students, teachers, school leaders, community members, and the future workforce. Unfortunately, inequitable hegemonic structures and practices limit urban students’ access to knowledge, resources, and a comprehensive and fair educational experience. This article explores the STEM activities in place at the Center for Innovation in STEM Education (CISE), at a local university in greater Los Angeles. From a historical context, CISE data show that an approach to STEM education that focuses on serving underrepresented populations by creating a pipeline, can serve as an example for K-12 schools, universities, and educational leaders seeking equitable practices in the field of STEM education. We identify implications for leadership development for school leaders, teacher leaders, and districts.