Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Pre-College Engineering Education
High-quality STEM education is crucial for the future success of American students. Researchers recognize the critical role that school and district leaders play in implementation of educational reforms as well as the lack of best-practice STEM education expertise held by school and district leaders. The program STEM Integration for Education Leaders was developed by the STEM Education Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) to guide school and district leaders in the process of developing a strategic plan for STEM or STEAM integration. The paper presents the framework, content, and evaluation findings from five years of the program with implications for education leaders, researchers, and policy makers. STEM Integration for Education Leaders, is a unique program that brings together teams of school and district leaders who work for one year to develop a long-term strategic plan for integrating quality STEM education into their schools and districts. This research-based program meets high quality standards for professional development, and is aligned with the research-based vision for STEM education (US Department of Education, 2016). During the year-long program, school and district teams work collaboratively to develop a school-wide or district-wide plan that enhances students’ and teachers’ STEM outcomes. Understanding the Engineering Design Process, and its fundamental connection to quality STEM education, is key to the teams’ work. The teams follow the design process as they review models of successful STEM integration, research STEM guiding frameworks and rubrics, define the vision and pillars for their STEM programs, develop a set of expected STEM outcomes for their students and teachers, evaluate existing STEM programs and identify needs, explore STEM curricula, develop models for collaboration with local businesses and higher education institutions, explore funding opportunities, and develop implementation plan. During the course of the year the teams share their developing plans with each other, provide feedback on the plans, and revise them accordingly. Each year, team members who completed the program serve as mentors to the new teams. Now in its sixth year, the program has engaged 22 school and district teams, both public and private, in the process of strategic planning and implementation of quality STEM program. A comprehensive program evaluation is conducted with the purposes of assessing the long-term effects of participation in the program, determine the extent of implementation of a strategic STEM plan, ascertain attainment of objectives, and assess the effectiveness of program’s components and strategies. Evaluation methods include formative and summative surveys, formal and informal focus groups and group exercises, as well as open-ended interviews with members of past teams. This evaluation process provides the program with continuous data that is being used to improve the program and better support present and past teams in their implementation of their STEM programs. The paper shares evaluation findings from the past five years, including elements of successful STEM programs (administration support and teacher buy-in; shared STEM definition, shared vision and goals, alignment with standards, long term structured yet flexible plan, and time) lack of these elements found to hinder the implementation of a STEM plan.
Dubosarsky, M., & Hubelbank, J. H. (2018, June), Elements that Support and Hinder the Development and Implementation of a School-wide/District-wide STEM Integration Program (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30367
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