In addition to an NSF cross-program panel and keynote addresses, this Summit featured numerous breakout sessions hosted by ITEST project PIs and evaluators in 4 strands: Shaping educational pathways to STEM careers, Embedding research and assessment into project work, Evaluation, and Topics of general interest.
Embedding Research and Assessment into Project Work
This synthesis paper highlights projects funded by the National Science Foundation’s Innovating Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) grant program that are either primarily designed to support teacher learning or that incorporate teacher learning in a significant way.
Using consensual qualitative research, the study examines urban high school students’ reactions to a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) enrichment/career development program, their resources and barriers, their perspectives on the impact of race and gender on their career development, and their overall views of work and their futures. The sample included nine students who participated in a semistructured interview at the end of the 2-week summer program and again 12–18 months later.
Given that many urban students exclude Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics careers from their career choices, the present study focuses on urban high school students and adopts the social-cultural approach to understand the following questions: how do students envision their careers? What are the experiences that shape students’ self-reflections? And how do students’ self-reflections influence the way they envision their future careers? Five students were interviewed and data were coded in two ways: by topic domains and confidence levels.
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.
During the past three years we have been designing and implementing a technology enhanced urban ecology program using geographic information systems (GIS) coupled with technology. Our initial work focused on professional development for in-service teachers and implementation in K-12 classrooms. However, upon reflection and analysis of the challenges that our in-service teachers faced while implementing our projects in their classrooms, we began to infuse our National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded ITEST work into our pre-service teacher preparation program.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is a domain of knowledge, skills, and practices that is pervasive and of critical importance in our highly technological, rapidly advancing, and increasingly connected world; however, non-dominant youth, namely from non-White, lower-income, non-English-speaking, and immigrant backgrounds, are disproportionately underrepresented in STEM careers in the USA.