Innovations and Challenges in Project-Based STEM Education: Lessons from ITEST
- 1.2k Downloads
For over a decade, the National Science Foundation’s Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program has funded researchers and educators to build an understanding of best practices, contexts, and processes contributing to K-12 students’ motivation and participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) activities that lead to STEM career pathways. The outcomes from these projects have contributed significantly to the national body of knowledge about strategies, successes, models, and interventions that support and encourage youth to pursue STEM careers. While the individual projects discussed in this special issue vary by geographic location, institution, populations served, primary focus, and topic, they are unified by ITEST’s programmatic intent and goals. This issue offers research-based insights into the knowledge generated by a decade of ITEST-funded work in STEM career development. The articles describe a multitude of approaches to project design, evaluation, and empirical research. Collectively, they contribute to the development of frameworks for STEM education and workforce development that are increasingly relevant for educators, project designers, researchers, and policy makers. The ITEST program has enabled creativity, experimentation, and cultural responsiveness in STEM education and workforce development and broadened participation in STEM initiatives to Native American communities, underresourced urban communities, girls, and populations underrepresented in STEM fields. By approaching research and evaluation with flexibility and resourcefulness, the authors provide empirical evidence for the value of innovative approaches to STEM education that promote STEM interest and career-related outcomes and that build the foundational skills of the scientific and engineering workforce of the future.
KeywordsSTEM career development Science education Workforce innovation STEM education STEM engagement ITEST
The authors gratefully acknowledge Joyce Malyn-Smith and Sarita Pillai of the STEM Learning and Research (STELAR) Center at EDC for their critical editing support.
This material is based upon work supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-1312022. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
- Akom AA, Scott A, Shah A (2013) Rethinking resistance theory through STEM education: how working class kids get world class careers. In: Tuck E, Yang KW (eds) Youth resistance research and theories of change. Routledge, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
- Blustein DL (2006) The psychology of working: a new perspective for counseling, career development, and public policy. Routledge, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
- Census Bureau US (2013) Disparities in STEM employment by sex, race, and Hispanic origin. US Department of Commerce, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Cover B, Jones J, Watson A (2011) Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations: a visual essay. Mon Labor Rev 3–15 Retrieved from http://stat.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2011/05/art1full.pdf
- Goulden M, Frasch K, Mason MA (2009) Staying competitive: patching America’s leaky pipeline in the sciences. University of California, Berkeley Center on Health, Economic, & Family Security and the Center for American Progress, Berkeley, CAGoogle Scholar
- Heppner MJ (2013) Women, men and work: the long road to gender equity. In: Brown SD, Lent RW (eds) Career development and counseling: putting theory and research to work, 2nd edn. Wiley, New York, pp. 187–214Google Scholar
- Krugman P (2012) End this depression now! W. W. Norton & Company, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Lent RW, Brown SD, Hackett G (2002) Social cognitive career theory. In: Brown D, Associates (eds) Career choice and development, 4th edn. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, pp. 255–311Google Scholar
- Mervis J (2016) NSF director unveils big ideas, with an eye on the next president and Congress. Science. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/05/nsf-director-unveils-big-ideas-eye-next-president-and-congress
- National Research Council. (2007) Taking science to school: learning and teaching science in grades K-8. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11625
- National Science Board (2008) Science and engineering indicators 2008. Two volumes. National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA (Vol. 1, NSB 08-01; Vol. 2, NSB 08-01A).Google Scholar
- National Science Board (2015) Revisiting the STEM workforce: a companion to science and engineering indicators 2014. National Science Foundation, Arlington, VAGoogle Scholar
- National Science Foundation (2014) Investing in science, engineering, and education for the Nation’s future—National Science Foundation Strategic Plan for 2014–2018. National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf14043 Google Scholar
- National Science Foundation (2015) Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program solicitation. https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/nsf15599/nsf15599.htm
- National Science Foundation (2016) 10 Big ideas for future NSF investments. http://www.nsf.gov/about/congress/reports/nsf_big_ideas.pdf
- Shoffner M, Dockery DJ (2015) Promoting interest in and entry into science, technology, engineering, and technology careers. In: Hartung PJ, Savickas ML, Walsh WB (eds) APA handbook of career intervention, vol Vol. 2. American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C., pp. 125–137. doi: 10.1037/14439-010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (2012) STEM education: preparing jobs for the future. US Congress Joint Economic Committee, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
- Xue Y, Larson R (2015) STEM crisis or STEM surplus? Yes and yes. Mon Labor Rev 1–15Google Scholar