Secondary STEM Educational Reform

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For example, in , 20 percent of U. Some notable examples include creating teams or cohorts of students that progress through middle school together, and looping, or having teachers and students stay together for 2 or more years. In looped middle schools, students have different teachers for each subject area, but they stay with the same subject area teachers over a period of multiple years.

These and other approaches are designed to foster relationships. It summarizes the results of the nationally representative National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education Banilower et al. Most middle schools have dedicated science teachers, and students participate in science class daily or every other day National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Middle schools spend about twice as much per pupil for science equipment and supplies than elementary schools and provide more instructional resources for science teaching National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, During the No Child Left Behind era, science was largely squeezed out of the curriculum in grades K—5 National Research Council, , so it is not surprising that middle schools across the country allocate more time in the curriculum and other resources for science learning than elementary schools.

The National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education found that 57 percent of middle school teachers indicated that their facilities were adequate, and about one-half viewed their equipment as adequate. About 40 percent viewed their consumable supplies and instructional technology as adequate Banilower et al.

The most frequent instructional techniques reported by middle school science teachers were the teacher explaining science ideas, whole-class discussions, and students working in small groups Banilower et al. Middle school science teachers also reported that at least once a week their students were asked to.

Egypt STEM Schools Project - World Learning

Reflecting the increasing emphasis on testing and accountability at higher grade levels, science tests and quizzes are more common in middle school, including short-answer tests and tests requiring constructed responses National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Based on the data, middle school science classes do not incorporate instructional technology e.

Only 30 percent of middle school teachers reported that they had used instructional technology in their most recent lesson. They also supplement these materials with other resources or skip parts they deem unimportant.

Program Goals

The grades served by high schools depend on their feeder middle schools, and either include grades 9—12 or 10— Fifteen percent of high school science classes have more than 30 students, and 36 percent have fewer than 20 students Banilower et al. The following discussion focuses on comprehensive high schools as opposed to the few hundred STEM-focused high schools in the United States Means et al.

They are generally characterized by expert teachers, advanced curricula, and sophisticated laboratory equipment; the schools with selective admissions criteria also often feature apprenticeships with scientists National Research Council, By design, the science and engineering experiences in these STEM-focused schools differ from those in comprehensive high schools. Similar to middle school, the most frequent instructional approaches in high school are the teacher explaining science ideas to the whole class, students working in small groups, and whole-class discussions Banilower et al.

As at the middle school level, most high school teachers report that their classes have access to the Internet, personal computers, and non-graphing calculators. However, high school teachers have greater access to more sophisticated scientific equipment, including microscopes, probes for collecting data, and graphing calculators Banilower et al.

Description

This greater access to scientific equipment is reflected in higher percentages of high school teachers, relative to middle school teachers, who rate their facilities, equipment, consumable supplies, and instructional technology as adequate. Yet, high school science teachers use textbooks and modules less extensively than middle school science teachers do: less than one-third of high school teachers use them for 50 percent or more of their science instructional time compared to. Like middle school teachers, high school teachers often supplement textbooks and modules with other resources or skip parts they deem unimportant.

Middle and high school students are adolescents who are shifting their perspectives to engage more with the wider world. Their interest in science may change during the course of these school years in reaction to their experiences in and out of school. They enter with existing views about what science is and who scientists are; these views can be influenced by their involvement in science education and how it shows them the nature of science and engineering.

As the historical discussion in this chapter illustrates, having students understand the nature of science has long been a goal of K—12 science education. With the inclusion of practices and core ideas related to engineering, technology, and the applications of science in the Framework , this goal broadens to include an understanding of the role of engineering and the interplay between science and engineering in the development of new technologies and in developing solutions to real-world problems.

Prior research on teaching and learning the nature of science has identified eight ideas about science that all students should come to understand NGSS Lead States, , App. These are metacognitive ideas that students do not generally recognize without explicit or guided learning, that is students do not come to understand these ideas by simply doing science projects, particularly those of the traditional science lab experiment.

However, engaging in investigation can provide context and experiential basis for students to begin understanding the nature of science and engineering. This understanding allows students. Classroom discourse and guided reflection can help students see the value of empirical evidence as a powerful tool for understanding the world.

Following from the ideas of the Framework , the core idea of engineering design includes the following three component ideas NGSS Lead States, , App. This body of research reveals that although the perception of women as scientists has increased over time Miller et al. Particularly as demographics in the United States continue to shift, these perceptions mean that an ever-larger swath of the population does not see science as relevant to them or as including them.

Other perceptions held by elementary and middle students are that the engineering process includes making or working on vehicles or building structures Cunningham, ; Fralick et al. However, other studies suggest that middle school students view engineers as creative, future-oriented, and artistic problem finders and solvers English, Dawes, and Hudson, Incomplete or inaccurate perceptions of the practitioners and practices of science and engineering can preclude students from making informed determinations about their interest and competencies in these fields.

A better understanding of what scientists and engineers do—gained in part through science and engineering investigation—might help middle and high school students to see these fields as relevant to them. Views of science and mathematics as difficult, only for smart students, or more appropriate for males can pose a barrier to the pursuit and enjoyment of science and engineering as early as elementary school; these views arise from many sources and can inadvertently be reinforced by teacher anxieties Beilock et al.

Regardless of test scores or performance, in general, high school and college females do not identify with science or enjoy science and mathematics as much as their male peers Riegele-Crumb, Moore, and Ramos-Wada, Some studies have shown that even when girls do enjoy science and mathematics, they are less confident in their abilities in those subjects than males Brotman and Moore, ; Riegele-Crumb, Moore, and Ramos-Wada, In addition to these broad differences, females and males also identify with different disciplines because of the social importance placed on the field or because of differences in self-efficacy Maltese and Cooper, Males are typically more interested in physics, engineering, and technology; females are more interested in biology, health, and medicine; and both sexes express similar degrees of interest in chemistry Baram-Tasbari and Yarden, ; Sadler et al.

The courses students take and activities they engage in during middle and high school can both reflect and reinforce these preferences and identities. Less research has examined other groups that are underrepresented in science and engineering, such as African Americans and Hispanics. For example, despite the marked underrepresentation of African Americans and Hispanics in the science and engineering workforce, some research suggests that high school students from these groups are as interested or more interested in pursuing STEM majors in college than their white peers Anderson and Kim, ; Hanson, Research on attitudes toward science and mathematics has similarly revealed that African American and Hispanic students expressed views of these subjects that were as positive or more positive than those of white students Muller, Stage, and Kinzie, Many of the changes students experience during early adolescence and adolescence directly or indirectly affect their overall interest in school, and their specific interest in science and engineering.

Indeed, research has documented general losses of interest and engagement in school during transitions to middle and high school, with especially pronounced effects for boys, students from lower socioeconomic groups, and historically underrepresented groups Wigfield et al.

Studies of public schools in New York and Florida also have revealed overall declines in test scores at these same transition points Rockoff and Lockwood, ; West and Schwerdt, Some research points to high school as an especially important time for the development of science and engineering-related career intentions Riegle-Crumb, Moore, and Ramos-Wada, ; Sadler et al.

Others argue the process of shaping opinions about science occupations begins much earlier Bandura et al. There are also gender-related differences in interest over time. Another study similarly revealed that the proportion of females interested in STEM careers declined during high school, with no such decrease for males Sadler et al.

Loss of interest in science, mathematics, and engineering during middle and high school has important longer-term implications because the choices students begin to make about science and engineering course-taking in high. Interests and motivations in science and engineering are shaped by a complex and socially constructed interaction of individual, family, community, peer, and school-related factors see Aschbacher, Li, and Roth, , for a discussion of these factors. Chapter 3 further discusses learning and motivation as it applies to adolescent students and their engagement with investigation and design.

As mentioned, a notable change from the context to the present is an explicit recognition of the need for science and engineering to be more inclusive, and to ensure that students from groups that have been excluded or marginalized in the past have equal and equitable access to quality K—12 science and engineering learning opportunities.

Middle School STEM Education Program Highlights

Significant changes inside inclusive pedagogies; see Chapter 5 and outside the classroom e. Such opportunities provide a base for making life and community decisions that depend on scientific and technological understanding. Furthermore, they allow students to develop skills and interests that greatly broaden their perspectives on career opportunities and possibilities and that open the doors to make those opportunities real.

This explicit focus on broadening these opportunities to include all students is especially timely because of demographic changes in the United States since the report. In , the percentage of students of color i. Although the current goals for science education are more inclusive and responsive to current conditions, inequities persist in several important areas: participation in the STEM workforce, opportunities to learn science and mathematics, and achievement. Gender representation in the STEM workforce is also important, and while an increase in the representation of women in the STEM workforce has been observed, as with Asians, disparities remain, particularly by discipline.

Even though courts acted to dismantle formerly lawful segregation, segregation has persisted in ways that did not reach the legal threshold for intervention and in the legally permissible form of segregation resulting from factors such as housing restrictions and local zoning ordinances. Consequently, racially segregated schools, separate and unequal, still exist today. A report issued by the Government Accountability Office showed an increase from 9 percent in — to 16 percent in — in schools classified as high-minority enrollment schools, defined as 75 percent or greater black and Hispanic student enrollments.

In contrast, the percentage of schools comprised of fewer black and Hispanic students decreased by one-half during the same period. Consequently, they typically offer fewer math and science courses and course sequences and fewer certified. Department of Education, Moreover, because science classrooms and related equipment are expensive to establish and maintain, these schools also are less likely to have high-grade space and equipment for science Banilower et al.

Tracking of students into fewer and less rigorous science and mathematics courses has excluded or marginalized many low-income and historically underrepresented students Burris, Welner, and Bezoza, ; Oakes, In the United States, student performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress NAEP in science is slowly increasing across all ethnic groups, though gaps in opportunities to learn and achievement among various groups remain. The most significant narrowing of the gap was in 8th grade between white and Hispanic students, from 30 points in to 26 points in U.

Socioeconomic status continues to be one of the leading causes of variation in student performance, as illustrated in Table , which shows differences in NAEP science scores between 8th- and 12th-grade students who are eligible for the school lunch program and those who are not.

The NAEP results show a point to point difference in performance between students eligible and not eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program. Current reform efforts in K—12 science and engineering education are largely based on the Framework and focus on engaging all students in the understanding of how science and engineering work; these reform efforts represent a departure from previous ones.

Centering science instruction around investigation and design can improve instruction in middle and high schools and help students to learn to make sense of phenomena and develop solutions.

The Landscape of Undergraduate STEM Education Reform: A Snapshot of Current National Initiatives

Through the use of an integrative framework for learning, teachers are able to leverage the assets that students bring to the classroom through engaging with phenomenon and engineering design. This is primarily because science investigation and engineering design offer a promising vehicle for anchoring student learning in meaningful contexts. They are navigating rapid physical growth, cognitive development, and social change.

It is a time in which engaging students in science investigation and engineering design might shape their identity and their future identity as a potential scientist or engineer.


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This is particularly crucial for females and other students from traditionally underrepresented populations. Leveraging science investigation and engineering design could allow students to develop skills and interests that greatly broaden their perspectives on career opportunities and possibilities as well as provide a base for making life and community decisions that depend on scientific and technological understanding. NSLP is a federally assisted meal program that provides low-cost or free lunches to eligible students.

It is sometimes referred to as the free or reduced-price lunch program. The overall scale for the assessments is 0 to , the effective score range of these tests is about 90 points: 80 percent of 8th graders scored between and , and 80 percent of 12th graders scored between and Albert, D. The teenage brain: Peer influences on adolescent decision making. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22 2 , — American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Washington, DC: Author.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy. New York: Oxford University Press. American Diploma Project.