STEM Education Partnerships Work!

The lure of STEM has been the excitement generated by projects, experiments and activities as well as the potential for high income earning jobs and careers.  The Common Core and Next Generation Science standards attempt to integrate STEM into everyday curriculum. However, simply changing standards in isolation cannot overcome the inertia of public educational institutions.  Data has shown that participation in STEM curricula is dependent on interest, aptitude and prior success in mathematics and science courses. Thus, underrepresented and disadvantaged minority students which are  low-income, African-American, Hispanic and women, may not have had the opportunity to develop interest or experience success in math and science may be excluded from participation.

In the study, “Pipeline Persistence: Examining the Association of Educational Experiences With Earned Degrees in STEM Among U.S. Students”, Maltese and Tai (2009) indicate that the majority of students who concentrate in STEM make that choice during high school, and that choice is related to a growing interest in mathematics and science rather than enrollment or achievement. According to the NACME White Paper Increasing the Achievement and Presence of Underrepresented Minorities in STEM Fields (2013), “Strengthening the educational pipeline for minorities in STEM fields will have a huge impact on their motivation to study and work in those fields”. The STEM Education Coalition found that increasing underrepresented minority students’ STEM-related educational opportunities positively influence their success in STEM. According to the book “Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads”, mentorship is cited as a successful strategy in exciting, inspiring and keeping young women and underrepresented minorities interest in science technology engineering and math (STEM).

Part of the Committee on Science Technology, Engineering and Math Education (CoSTEM) National Strategy is to improve STEM instruction in preschool through 12th grade, increase and sustain public and youth engagement with STEM and better serve groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields. To implement the strategy CoSTEM recommends training the existing STEM teacher workforce, increasing in the number of U.S. youth who have an authentic STEM experience each year prior to completing high school and building students’ STEM skills and academic persistence to promote the graduation of educationally disadvantaged and underrepresented students with degrees in STEM fields.

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Published on October 22nd, 2017

Last updated on April 29th, 2020