Promising Approaches to Broadening Youth Participation in STEM


The National Science Foundation (NSF) views broadening participation in the nation’s STEM enterprise as vitally linked to the United States’ capacity for innovation.  To prioritize inclusion, the ITEST program has called for reflection on best practices and lessons learned regarding broadening participation with this question: "Given the shifting demographics reflected in our current classrooms and in our country, what are effective and productive ways to ensure broadening participation by engaging dverse underrepresented populations in STEM programs and careers?"

This paper, based on a review of over 200 publications related to approximately 110 ITEST projects, seeks to respond to that question. While all ITEST projects include “broadening participation” as a central goal, we found that publications relating to 43 projects contained specific information on broadening participation. Of those, publications relating to 25 projects had “broadening participation” as the primary focus. Here, we present the range of strategies that project teams employed by highlighting some of those 25 projects.

Read our featured post from STELAR Co-PI Carrie Parker, announcing these publications.

View the related STELAR Syntheses:

STEM Learning Games and Game Design in ITEST Projects highlights 12 projects that addressed this question by implementing game-focused projects in both in-school and out-of-school settings.

Authentic Inquiries into Local Issues: Increasing Engagement and Building a Sense of STEM Identity and Agency highlights an additional 12 projects that focused on authentic inquiries using mapping or environmental monitoring.

Engaging Teachers in Supporting Next Generation STEM Learning looks at nine projects that focused on teacher-centered learning.