STEM CONFERENCE at Drexel University, Philadelphia Pa STEM Smart: Lessons Learned From Successful Schools was presented by NSF in response to the National Research Council’s desire to present the findings of research done to identify highly successful k-12 schools and programs in STEM education. The National Science Foundation’s report was summarized in a series of panel discussions and remarks by NSF staff and various prominent educators and professionals in STEM education. For conclusions and more information on the study, refer to: www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13230 What conclusions did I draw from the day? 1) “Effective instruction capitalizes on students’ early interest and experiences, builds on what they know, and provides them with experience to engage in the practices of science” 1 This kind of effective science instruction is the exception, not the rule in this country. Attention to these key elements in effective instruction is required if we are to meet the goals for U. S. STEM education. (see below) 2) Adequate instruction time is essential. NCLB has affected the time allotted for STEM instruction. The predominant focus in elementary school is mathematics and language arts because these subjects are tested yearly for accountability. Decrease in time for science instruction is “of particular concern because there is some evidence that interest in science careers develops as early as the elementary years.” 2 3) “ To be effective, teachers need content knowledge and expertise in teaching.”3 Today many teachers have not majored in college in subjects they teach. Effective professional development that is sustained, addresses classroom and school problems, and is focused on developing a teacher’s ability to teach content needs to be available. GOALS FOR U. S. STEM EDUCATION
- Expand the number of students who ultimately pursue advanced degrees and careers in STEM fields and broaden the participation of women and minorities in those fields.
- Expand the STEM-capable workforce and broaden the participation of women and minorities in that workforce.
- Increase STEM literacy for all students, including those who do not pursue STEM-related careers or additional study in the STEM disciplines.
1,2,3: From the report: www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13230