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Teacher Training and STEM Student Outcome: Linking Teacher Intervention to Students’ Success in STEM Middle and High School Classes

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Assessment and Evaluation of K-12 Engineering Programs

Tagged Divisions

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1370.1 - 22.1370.7



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Paper Authors


Gisele Ragusa, Ph.D. University of Southern California

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Gisele Ragusa is an associate professor in the Viterbi School of Engineering and the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. She has expertise in engineering education, precollege engineering and in assessment and measurement.

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Teacher Training and STEM Student Outcome: Linking Teacher Intervention to Students’ Success in STEM Middle and High School Classes AbstractEngineers and scientists utilize the principles and theories of science and mathematics todesign, test, and manufacture products that are important to the future of a nation’scitizenry. With the exception of biological sciences, however, the percentage of collegestudents seeking degrees in math, science and engineering disciplines has been decliningfor the past two decades. Furthermore, fewer potential engineering majors are completingrigorous college preparatory programs and graduating in the top quarter of their highschools. This shortfall has raised concerns among leaders in science, technology,engineering, mathematics, (STEM) fields. To meet the changing demands of the nation’s science and engineering laborforce, recognition of the importance of pre-college education intervention andimplementation of challenging curricula that captures and sustains middle and highschool students’ achievement and interest in science and engineering is critical. Current research reveals that one of the most important determinants of whatstudents learn is the expertise and pedagogy of the teacher. Accordingly, our research isfocused on improving teacher quality and resulting middle and high school studentlearning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) via formation, nurturanceand sustaining an important targeted school- university urban educational partnership. Our university has partnered with a large urban school district to plan, deliver andsustain a targeted inservice teacher professional development and a middle and highschool STEM curriculum intervention. The partnership goals are to assist inservicemiddle and high school science teachers in (1) designing and implementing integratedscience and engineering curricula and (2) development of instructional methods andstrategies that enable teachers to effectively: (a) teach challenging content and researchskills in middle and high school as demanded by state/national science standards; (b)generate knowledge and transform practice in high school STEM education, (c) cultivatea world-class STEM workforce, (d) expand students’ scientific literacy, and (e) promoteresearch that advances the frontiers of knowledge in STEM high school education. We have engaged is this project for two years. To date, we have trained twenty-seven middle and high school STEM teachers who are now delivering the innovativeSTEM curriculum that they created during a professional development teacher academy,to their middle and high school students. Preliminary results of the teacher and studentcurriculum intervention reveal that the teachers are highly efficacious (mean is STEMteaching efficacy is 3.89 on a 4-point scale) to teach in STEM subjects and areperforming better than prior to our teacher professional development intervention (meanincreases are 1.7 points on a 4-point multi-dimensional observational rubric).Additionally, the middle and high school students’ STEM literacy, math and scienceknowledge and achievement have significantly increased, (mean increase in STEMliteracy is 1.29 grade levels, and gains in STEM content are ~ 28%). These results, whilepreliminary, reveal a promising outcome for both teachers and students in middle andhigh school STEM programs.

Ph.D., G. R. (2011, June), Teacher Training and STEM Student Outcome: Linking Teacher Intervention to Students’ Success in STEM Middle and High School Classes Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18797

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