STEM Education – Enhancing Best Practices
Colleges: CAS, COEd, VCEA
Education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is critical for 21st century careers and daily life skills. Although many K-16 institutions identify themselves as “STEM schools”, or have STEM-based learning activities integrated into curricula, challenges persist in developing effective STEM education. WSU researchers address challenges in STEM education including (a) the absence of STEM content knowledge and innovative instructional practices, (b) a dearth of research to guide effective instructional/curriculum design and implementation, and (c) insufficient leadership to improve STEM education, particularly in rural contexts. WSU research supports policy, curriculum, and instructional changes that favor STEM education enhancement and best practices in learning environments. The research ranges from developing graduate education training modules in engineering based in learning and multimedia theory to improvement of teacher quality in STEM classrooms (e.g., SIMIAN lab, MERIT lab), optimizing classroom environments for developing scientific reasoning (ISLE lab), and development of new assessments and student reasoning profiles from kindergarten through high school. WSU houses a US government certified large scale data laboratory for modeling STEM outcomes. A unique example is our regional engagement, and commitment to our land-grant mission, through the Indigenous STEM (ISTEM) project, which aims to (a) increase Indigenous student engagement in STEM; (b) develop a pathway for Indigenous students in STEM and medical fields, and; (c) contribute to Tribal missions to revitalize Indigenous languages. At the border level, WSU’s work with the International School Leadership Program (ISLP), in partnership with the University of San Francisco, provides a path to graduate education and principal certifications for school administrators, teachers, and educational staff to better practice in school systems.