K-12 STEM Education

Hanover Research- District Administrative Practices. (October 2011). K-12 STEM Education Overview. Washington, DC

What does STEM (Science, Technology, Education, and Math) education look like in the K-12 setting? Far too often schools place “math and science” in their name but lack the understanding of what it truly means to be a STEM based institution. I must admit I have used science and math projects in my classroom and believed I was fulfilling the STEM mission. With a little research under my belt I am beginning to realize that there is a far more specific formula to STEM education.

Hanover Research’s (2011) article titled K-12 STEM Education Overview provided a broad synopsis of the multiple aspects of K-12 STEM education in the United States. This article is a great place to start and gives an overview of STEM curriculum at the K-12 level. The purpose of the article is to bring attention to the “poor performance of American students in the vital fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” which has led to the STEM reform movement (Hanover Research, 2011, p. 5). With an obvious necessity for STEM awareness and education at the K-12 level, Hanover Research (2011) begins by exploring the numerous definitions of STEM education, with the overarching idea that STEM education is the movement toward creating a work-force that is proficient and literate in science, technology, engineering, and math by cultivating a deeper understanding of each subject. Once a definition is established, Hanover Research goes into greater depth of the structure of STEM curriculum. The research gives a broad overview of best practices in STEM program communications, structure, implementation, professional development, and sustainability.

The methods used to collect and analyze data in this article are quite vague and the data provides a general idea of the components of STEM education and the structure that has worked at successful schools in the United States. Hanover Research collects data about STEM programs by reviewing scholarly articles, collecting data from national and state organizations, analyzing past surveys of STEM-focused schools, and utilizing sources who studied and collected data on Model STEM school programs across the country. With this being said, the methods of data collection consist of an examination of previously conducted studies by a wide rage of scholars on the topic of STEM education.

Through their research, Hanover Research (2011) discovered that STEM education is a necessity in the United States education system in order to assist in the improvement of math and science test scores, where only approximately one-third of students are performing at a proficient level. This article also gives an outline, which has been effective at performing STEM schools across the country, for what is required in order to create a STEM school that “cultivate(s) soft skills for scientific inquiry and problem-solving skills,” while creating a “STEM-literate citizenry” (Hanover Research, 2011, p. 2). If there goals are to be achieved, the article determined that schools must establish the following items: STEM goals, STEM subjects and skills, communication of the importance of STEM education with the community, implementation of the program (program structure, instructional techniques, curriculum, student motivation, high-quality STEM teachers), program sustainability, and professional development. Overall, there is a format that schools must follow in order to create a sustainable and effective STEM school.

The author organized the work in a coherent way, allowing the reader to easily navigate through the topics covered. First, the author gives a brief overview of the subject being covered, which includes: an executive summary, STEM definitions, summary of best practices, and an overview of professional development opportunities and the model programs that are analyzed at the end of the article. Second, the author dives into the meat of the article by discussing all of the topics summarized at the beginning of the article in a more in-depth manner. Lastly, the author discusses how model schools utilize the components of STEM school infrastructure discussed throughout. In summary, the organization of the article is logical and progresses naturally from smaller topics of describing what a STEM program needs, into a larger all-inclusive topic of model STEM programs. The one piece that I believe is lacking is a section that describes the research methods that are utilized to collect the data summarized in the article.

This research paper serves to provide an overview of K-12 STEM education. The arguments for STEM education and STEM structures are supported by strong resources, however, the depth of the article is lacking, leaving a lot to be desired. Although there are multiple reputable sources utilized, but unfortunately few in-depth discussions about STEM education, making it more of a starting point for research instead of a resource that can be used to instill change. In reality, this article can be used to begin creating an outline for what a functioning STEM program looks like. More specifically, an overview of research completed on STEM practices in the schools discussed would be helpful. For example, specific research concluding that specific aspects of STEM educational practices are useful and have data to provide proof of results. Also, a discussion of best practices to analyze the effectiveness of a STEM program would assist me in future research. A powerful conclusion to this article could be an overall cumulative report of what an ideal STEM model would look with strong statistical data provided as support.

Hanover Research (2011) utilized secondary data analysis in order to explore the different components of STEM education. The research group referred to research conducted by reputable sources, such as government agencies, national agencies, state agencies, and universities. There is a wide array of qualitative (surveys and interviews) and quantitative methodologies referenced throughout the work.

I feel the broadness of this article has created more questions than it has answers. I want to begin analyzing studies that have been completed on “successful” STEM schools across the county. I want to discover the best methods for determining the success of a STEM school, which I can later use to determine the efficacy of my own STEM program. I want to strengthen my understanding of each of the pieces of STEM programs and determine if there are other parts that must be included in the infrastructure of an effective STEM school structure. Overall, I have many ideas that I would like to continue to research, develop an understanding of, and collect data on to support my findings.




 Hanover Research- District Administrative Practices. (October 2011). K-12 STEM Education Overview. Washington, DC

The following two tabs change content below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *