AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Aug/11

25

Hui-Hui Wang on Assessing STEM Education

My name is Hui-Hui Wang. Currently I am a Doctoral candidate in Science Education at the University of Minnesota. My research and teaching interests have been fostered by Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) integration professional development programs. As an evaluator, I encounter some struggles that I would like to share with people who are interested in STEM education.

Hot Tip: What do we really want our teachers to learn from a STEM teacher professional development program? For example, engineering design process is the main focus in K-12 STEM education. Engineering design process emphasizes problem solving skills and independent thinking. Therefore, a multiple choice survey is not suitable for assessing a person’s cognitive thinking. An authentic assessment design would be a better way to achieve the assessment goal. However, in a professional development program, an evaluator has certain difficulties to conduct an authentic assessment, because of the time restriction.

Hot Tip: How can we create a better assessment tool to assess teachers’ learning from a STEM professional development program? By nature, STEM education should be treated as an integrated or multidisciplinary approach. Therefore, an assessment tool itself should be able to provide evidence to show knowledge gain from different STEM subjects. Unfortunately, so far, we still lack of an appropriate assessment tool to achieve this goal.

Rad Resource: In our discussion with some professional pre-college engineering educators, we believe that an engineering notebook is a great idea for assessing STEM education. However, we need to be cautious about students’ reading and writing abilities when we use engineering notebook as a major assessment tool.

Today, STEM integration is a nationwide movement. Educators are mobilizing at the national and state level to meet the call to increase students’ interest and achievement in STEM fields. In the mean time, we should also think about how can have an appropriate assessment for STEM education.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

2 comments

  • Pamela Jull · August 26, 2011 at 10:17 am

    I am working with several clients on projects that involve STEM-related learning outcomes. They struggle with defining the concepts that relate to STEM. I would greatly welcome a discussion from this forum regarding the concepts and some of the ways they are being defined and operationalized. Perhaps at the PNWAEA meeting in Portland?

    Reply

  • Jeanne Century · August 26, 2011 at 7:28 am

    We are doing work on describing and measuring STEM education. This work, funded by the National Science Foundation, is examining STEM high schools that are part of the Ohio STEM Learning Network. It’s important to acknowledge that it is not a “given” that STEM is something that all do or should consider an integrated discipline. Some view “STEM” as merely an acronym, others do indeed view it as something integrated, including projects and what they might refer to as “real world” applications. To learn more about our project and our approach to describing and measuring STEM education and STEM schools, go to the STEM schools project at http://www.researcherswithoutborders.org.

    Reply

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