Understanding Emerging Opportunity Structures in STEM Education: Research Efforts to Explore School-Level Innovations

AERA Symposium
January 02, 2012

We recently contributed to a symposium entitled Understanding Emerging Opportunity Structures in STEM Education: Research Efforts to Explore School-Level Innovations at the 2012 AERA Annual Meeting. To view slides from our presentation, click here.

 

The aim of this project is to examine opportunity structures provided to students by inclusive STEM-focused high schools, with an emphasis on studying schools that serve students from underrepresented groups. In contrast to highly selective STEM-focused schools that target students who are already identified as gifted and talented in STEM, inclusive STEM-focused high schools aim to develop new sources of STEM talent, particularly among underrepresented minority students, to improve workforce development and prepare STEM professionals. A new NRC report, Successful K-12 STEM Education (2011), identifies areas in which research on STEM-focused schools is most needed. The NRC report points out the importance of providing opportunities for groups that are underrepresented in the sciences, especially Blacks, Hispanics, and low-income students who disproportionately fall out of the high-achieving group in K-12 education. This project responds specifically to the call for research in the NRC report and provides systematic data to define and clarify the nature of such schools.