June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
24.781.1 - 24.781.17
Integration in K–12 STEM Education: Status, Prospects, and an Agenda for ResearchOver the past decade, the STEM acronym has developed wide currency in US education andpolicy circles. Leaders in business, government, and academia assert that education in the STEMsubjects is vital not only to sustaining the innovation capacity of the United States but also as afoundation for successful employment, including but not limited to work in the STEM fields.Historically, US K–12 STEM education has focused on competency in the individual subjects,particularly science and mathematics. Reform efforts, including development of learningstandards and, more recently, large-scale assessments, likewise have treated the STEM subjectsmostly in isolation. The relatively recent introduction of engineering education into some K–12classrooms and out-of-school settings and the 2013 publication of the Next Generation ofScience Standards, which explicitly connect science concepts and practices to those ofengineering, have elevated the idea of integration as a potential component of STEM education.Advocates of more integrated approaches to K-12 STEM education argue that teaching STEM ina more connected manner, especially in the context of real-world issues, can make the STEMsubjects more relevant to students and teachers. This in turn can enhance motivation for learningand improve student interest, achievement, and persistence. And these outcomes, advocatesassert, will help address calls for greater workplace and college readiness as well as increase thenumber of students who consider a career in a STEM-related field.This paper will discuss the results of a recently completed study that characterized existingapproaches to integrated STEM education, both in formal and after-/out-of-school settings; reviewthe evidence for the impact of integrated approaches on various cognitive and affective studentoutcomes; and discuss a set of priority research questions to advance understanding of integratedSTEM education. [Note to ASEE reviewers: A report based on the study will be published in late2013.]The paper will summarize data gathering conducted by the project, which included a detailedreview of relevant published research in education and the cognitive sciences; detail what theresearch suggest about the potential value, limitations, and challenges of integrated STEMeducation; present a descriptive framework for integrated STEM education that can be used toclarify the thinking of practitioners, researchers, and policy makers; and highlight a number ofspecific research questions that if addressed will increase understanding of this complex topic.
Nathan, M., & Pearson, G. (2014, June), Integration in K–12 STEM Education: Status, Prospects, and an Agenda for Research Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20673
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