Paper No. 1-1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM
INSPIRE STUDENTS AND LEARNING WILL FOLLOW: A CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE STEM GK-12 TEACHING MODEL
The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology recently reported that the United States will need to increase the number of STEM college graduates by 34% in order to meet economic projections. The growing demand for STEM graduates is increasingly constrained by poor student performance, a lack of student interest and the conspicuous absence of women and minority demographics within the STEM disciplines. The GK-12 program sought to address these challenges by integrating graduate researchers into classrooms, with the purpose of providing engaging, inquiry-based lessons to students and teachers. Survey data from the Austin Independent School District (n = 1824 students) reveals that students gained an appreciation for science and became more confident in their own scientific abilities when graduate researchers regularly participated in classroom instruction. Fifth grade students from the Flour Bluff Independent School District also scored higher on academic assessments when classrooms were supplemented with a graduate researcher. In particular, a significantly higher percentage of students (n = 237; p < 0.05) passed end-of-year assessments in the general population (9%) and in the female (15%), African American (7%) and economically disadvantaged (10%) demographics. A critical examination of documented GK-12 program impacts over the last decade serves as the basis for evaluating past program objectives and forming future educational strategies.