A WORKSHOP SUMMARY
Alexandra Beatty, Rapporteur
Committee on Highly Successful Schools or Programs
for K-12 STEM Education
Board on Science Education
Board on Testing and Assessment
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by Grant Nos. DRL-1050545 and DRL-1063495 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2011). Successful STEM Education: A Workshop Summary. A. Beatty, Rapporteur. Committee on Highly Successful Schools or Programs for K-12 STEM Education, Board on Science Education and Board on Testing and Assessment. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
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COMMITTEE ON HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL SCHOOLS OR PROGRAMS FOR K-12 STEM EDUCATION
ADAM GAMORAN (Chair), Department of Sociology and Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsinâ€“Madison
JULIAN BETTS, Department of Economics, University of California, San Diego
JERRY P. GOLLUB, Natural Sciences and Physics Departments, Haverford College
GLENN â€œMAXâ€ McGEE, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
MILBREY W. McLAUGHLIN, School of Education, Stanford University
BARBARA M. MEANS, Center for Technology in Learning, SRI International
STEVEN A. SCHNEIDER, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program, WestEd
JERRY D. VALADEZ, Central Valley Science Project, California State University, Fresno
MARTIN STORKSDIECK, Director, Board on Science Education
STUART ELLIOTT, Director, Board on Testing and Assessment
NATALIE NIELSEN, Study Director
MICHAEL FEDER, Study Director (until February 2011)
THOMAS KELLER, Senior Program Officer
REBECCA KRONE, Program Associate
BOARD ON SCIENCE EDUCATION
HELEN QUINN (Chair), Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford University (Emeritus)
PHILIP BELL, LIFE Center, University of Washington
GEORGE BOGGS, Palomar College (Emeritus), San Marcos, CA
WILLIAM B. BONVILLIAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Washington, DC, Office
JOSEPH S. FRANCISCO, Department of Chemistry, Purdue University
ADAM GAMORAN, Department of Sociology and Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsinâ€“Madison
JERRY P. GOLLUB, Natural Sciences and Physics Departments, Haverford College
MARGARET HONEY, New York Hall of Science
JAN HUSTLER, Partnership for Student Success in Science, Synopsys, Inc., Mountain View, CA
SUSAN W. KIEFFER, Department of Geology, University of Illinois at Urbanaâ€“Champaign
BRETT D. MOULDING, Utah Partnership for Effective Science Teaching and Learning, Ogden
CARLO PARRAVANO, Merck Institute for Science Education, Rahway, NJ
SUSAN R. SINGER, Department of Biology, Carleton College, Northfield, MN
WILLIAM B. WOOD, Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (Emeritus), University of Colorado, Boulder
MARTIN STORKSDIECK, Director
BOARD ON TESTING AND ASSESSMENT
EDWARD H. HAERTEL (Chair), School of Education, Stanford University
LYLE F. BACHMAN, Department of Applied Linguistics and TESOL, University of California, Los Angeles
STEPHEN B. DUNBAR, College of Education, University of Iowa
DAVID J. FRANCIS, Texas Institute for Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation, University of Houston
MICHAEL T. KANE, Test Validity, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ
KEVIN LANG, Department of Economics, Boston University
MICHAEL T. NETTLES, Policy Evaluation and Research Center, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ
DIANA C. PULLIN, School of Education, Boston College
BRIAN STECHER, Education Program, The RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA
MARK R. WILSON, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley
REBECCA ZWICK, Research and Development, Educational Testing Service, Santa Barbara, CA
STUART ELLIOTT, Director
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Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are at center stage in the education reform movement. Most people share the vision that a highly capable STEM workforce and a population that understands and supports the scientific enterprise are key to the future place of the United States in global economics and politics and to the well-being of the nation. Many schools around the country are producing students who are eager to go on to advanced study and who excel in college and in STEM careers. Many students are left behind, however. Talented and potentially eager students who may not have access to elite schools or excellent programs may never recognize their potential to excel. And too many U.S. students progress through K-12 education without attaining basic mathematics and scientific knowledge and skills, as the nationâ€™s disappointing results on international comparisons have repeatedly demonstrated.
Although all too much is known about why schools may not succeed, it is far less clear what makes STEM education effective. The Committee on Highly Successful Schools or Programs for K-12 STEM Education was created, with the support of the National Science Foundation, to explore what makes STEM education workâ€”the schools, the practices that excellent schools may share, and conditions that enable schools to be effective. Earlier this year we issued a short report on the findings and conclusions from our work (National Research Council, 2011b). This report describes in detail what was presented and discussed at our May 2011 workshop. For that workshop, the committeeâ€™s role was limited to planning: this summary has been prepared by a rapporteur, with staff
assistance as appropriate. The workshop was not designed to generate consensus conclusions or recommendations but focused instead on the identification of ideas, themes, and considerations that contribute to understanding the topic; the report does not represent either findings or recommendations that can be attributed to the committee. This document summarizes the views expressed by workshop participants, and the committee was responsible only for the quality of the agenda and the selection of participants.
This workshop summary has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.
We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Mark Berends, Department of Sociology, Director of the Center for Research on Educational Opportunity and the National Center on School Choice, University of Notre Dame; Theodore R. (Ted) Britton, Associate Director, National Center for Improving Science Education, WestEd; Patti Curtis, Managing Director, Washington Office, Museum of Science, Boston, and National Center for Technological Literacy; Jacob Foster, Science, Technology, and Engineering, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; Joseph Krajcik, Science Education, Codirector, IDEA Institute, School of Education, University of Michigan; Christopher C. Lazzaro, Director of Science Education, Research and Development, College Board; and Walter G. Secada, Professor and Senior Associate Dean, School of Education, University of Miami.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Carlo Parravano, Merck Institute for Science Education. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the committee and the institution.
Adam Gamoran, Chair
Committee on Highly Successful Schools or
Programs for K-12 STEM Education