QuEST: Quantum Education for Students and Teachers
The National Quantum Initiative Act stipulates the growth and acceleration of quantum information science and technology research and education. However, high school science teachers may not have a background in quantum physics, and this creates a challenge for them to keep track of academic and industrial development of quantum technology, causing a substantial gap in early quantum education. Quantum Education for Students and Teachers (QuEST), a partnership between Stony Brook University and the New York Hall of Science, will advance quantum education, physical science literacy, and the diversity of the STEM pipeline through quantum science and quantum computing learning opportunities for precollege students (grades 8-12) and secondary science teachers, directly impacting 800 students and 160 teachers. The research plan will measure both immediate and long-term outcomes for secondary students and teachers. The broader impacts of this work relate to increased introductory quantum science and computing participation for students from diverse backgrounds who may not have equitable access due to restricted school resources, lack of science course offerings, and limited teacher knowledge about quantum principles and applications.
QuEST will develop and research practices in precollege quantum science and computing instruction that are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. The goals include the development of (1) quantum knowledge and quantum computing practices that promote critical thinking, reasoning, and communication skills; and (2) student awareness and interest in quantum computing careers and academic pathways. Strategies include onsite school day activities and summer camps in quantum science disciplines for diverse groups of students (QuEST Lab). In QuEST Lab, quantum science conceptual learning and quantum computing laboratory experiences will relate physical science principles to modern technological advances, which will enhance students’ knowledge, skills, sociocognitive domains, STEM career interests, and intentional academic behaviors. EduQation is a science teacher professional development program in quantum science principles and applications; this will result in a multiplicative effect on student learning as these teachers implement quantum science and computing in formal physical science instruction. Science teachers will improve their disciplinary content knowledge, ability to differentiate classical and quantum concepts, comprehension of technological advances in quantum industries, and understanding of how to educate students about quantum career pathways. These cognitive and affective outcomes will be measured by surveys, focus groups, and interviews with project participants; data will be analyzed through inferential statistics and qualitative coding methods. This project is co-funded by the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program, which supports projects that build understandings of practices, program elements, contexts and processes contributing to increasing students' knowledge and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and information and communication technology (ICT) careers. This project is also co-funded by the CS for All: Research and RPPs program, and the Office of Multidisciplinary Activities in the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.