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STEM Integration in K-12 Education: Status, Prospects, and an Agenda for Research

Abstract

"Leaders in business, government, and academia assert that education in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is vital not only to U.S. innovation capacity but also as a foundation for successful employment, including (but not limited to) work in the STEM fields. K-12 STEM education, including standards and assessments, has tended to focus on the individual subjects, most often science and mathematics. The T and E of STEM have received relatively little attention. However, recent reform efforts, like the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), are stressing STEM connections - in the case of NGSS, between science and engineering.

STEM Integration in K-12 Education examines current efforts to connect the STEM disciplines in K-12 education. This report identifies and characterizes existing approaches to integrated STEM education, both in formal and after- and out-of-school settings. The report reviews the evidence for the impact of integrated approaches on various student outcomes, and it proposes a set of priority research questions to advance the understanding of integrated STEM education. STEM Integration in K-12 Education proposes a framework to provide a common perspective and vocabulary for researchers, practitioners, and others to identify, discuss, and investigate specific integrated STEM initiatives within the K-12 education system of the United States.

STEM Integration in K-12 Education makes recommendations for designers of integrated STEM experiences, assessment developers, and researchers to design and document effective integrated STEM education. This report will help to further their work and improve the chances that some forms of integrated STEM education will make a positive difference in student learning and interest and other valued outcomes."

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