Nearly 80% of the jobs available during the next decade will require math and science skills according to the National Science Foundation. However, high school student graduates are not adequately prepared as only 29% and 43% test ready for college-level courses in science and math, respectively. As a result, not enough students major in STEM/STEAM- related fields of study, which is contributing to the shortage of skilled workers in these fields.
In unpacking the drivers of this trend it appears that much of this shortfall can be attributed to the lack of STEM/STEAM education in K-12 schools today. Approximately 2 in 5 high schools don’t offer physics, and 56% of US 12th graders don’t have access at all to a computer science class. Implementing STEM and STEAM programs that will prepare students for college-level courses and careers is challenging for schools and districts due to broad guidelines and definitions of STEM education and disparate program implementation approaches.
In studying these approaches, we have highlighted some of the best STEM/STEAM program implementation practices:
1. Indiana DOE’s Elementary and Middle Schools STEM Implementation Guide:
This guide describes various program implementation models for STEM programs and provides action items and metrics in key areas related to program implementation and sustainability: infrastructure, curriculum, extended learning, and instruction.
2. The STEM Immersion Guide from Arizona STEM Network:
This guide describes multiple STEM program implementation models and provides a description and associated characteristics, critical components, and responsibilities related to areas including leadership, teaching and learning, evaluation, budgeting and sustainability.
3. How to Start a STEAM Program in your School from LittleBits Education:
This resource includes a series of case studies of STEAM programs, as well as 11 recommendations for integrating the arts into a STEM program.
4. A Program Director’s Guide to Evaluating STEM Education Programs, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education produced this guide in collaboration with other educational agencies. It provides a comprehensive overview of STEM program evaluation practices and the program leader’s role in conducting the evaluation.
5. STEM Programming Planning Tool from California AfterSchool Network and California STEM Learning Network
This program planning tool provides a template for schools and/or districts in the process of implementing a STEM program including programmatic planning, professional development, and fiscal sustainability. The guide includes helpful worksheets, check lists, and action plans, to ensure successful implementation of programs.
Interested in learning more about STEM/STEAM Program implementation? Download the study, “STEM/STEAM Program Models, Components, and Leadership Development” for an overview of various models of STEM/STEAM programs, implementation guidelines, and professional development tips.