The Essential Components of STEM Education


STEM Education has become a huge area of emphasis for schools across the country, and many are seeking ideas on how to improve available programs.  New NSF-funded research from George Washington University, George Mason University, and SRI International has discovered 14 components associated with strong and exemplary STEM learning programs:

  1. College-prep, STEM-focused curriculum for all. Rigorous courses in all 4 STEM areas, or, engineering and technology are explicitly, intentionally integrated into STEM subjects and non-STEM subjects in preparation for college.
  2. Reform instructional strategies and project-based learning. STEM classes emphasize instructional practices/strategies informed by research on active teaching and learning and immersing students in STEM content, processes, habits of mind and skills.
  3. Integrated, innovative technology use. Technology connects students with information systems, models, databases, and STEM research; teachers; mentors; and, social networking resources for STEM ideas.
  4. STEM-rich, informal experiences. Learning opportunities are not bounded, but ubiquitous.
  5. Connections with business, industry, and the world of work. The school boundaries extend beyond the larger school community by creating partnerships with business and industry.
  6. College-level coursework. School schedule is flexible and designed to provide opportunities for students to take classes at institutions of higher education or online.
  7. Well-prepared STEM teachers and professionalized teaching staff. Teachers are qualified and have advanced STEM content knowledge and/or practical experience in STEM careers.
  8. Inclusive STEM Mission. The school’s stated goals are to prepare students for STEM, with emphasis on recruiting students from underrepresented groups.
  9. Flexible and Autonomous Administration. The administrative structure exhibits an external awareness to the community outside the school that promotes a bias towards innovation and action, while also increasing the collective capacity of the school.
  10. Supports Underrepresented Students. Supports such as bridge programs, tutoring programs, extended school days, extended school, extended school years, or looping exist to strengthen students’ transitions to STEM careers.
  11. Dynamic Assessment Systems for Continuous Improvement. The school community supports continuous improvement through data systems. Teachers use summ
  12. ative assessments and school leaders examine assessments to inform decisions.
  13. Innovative and Responsive Leadership. The school leadership is proactive and continuously addresses the needs of teachers, students, and the greater community through innovative solutions, open communication, and uplifting leadership.
  14. Positive School Community and Culture of High Expectations for All. Have a school environment where students and staff feel a sense of personal, intellectual, and socio-emotional safety. The school environment helps foster the development of personal identities and interests within a STEM context.
  15. Agency and Choice. Students have the opportunity to choose to attend a STEM school or make choices about STEM academic opportunities.

Source: eSchool News & George Washington University

One thought on “The Essential Components of STEM Education

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s