Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education in the United States: Areas of Current Successes and Future Needs

By Alan Zollman, Mansour Tahernezhadi and Penny Billman.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The quality of the public school teacher has the greatest in-school impact on nurturing cognitive abilities, developing content knowledge, and increasing motivation of students. This paper analyzes if, and how, professional development projects enhance the quality of the public school teacher in STEM Education projects. Specifically, this paper seeks to identify particular characteristics of STEM Education professional development projects that improve teacher instruction, and further, improve student achievement. We also identify distinct needs in the research in STEM Education professional development for the projects to be useful and generalizable for the education community. Activities for quality professional development opportunities in mathematics and science need to have a strong emphasis on experiencing, planning, teaching, reflection and professionalism. The most successful teachers have deep content knowledge and then transform that knowledge into meaningful inquiry lessons for their students. We investigate what are the characteristics of successful STEM Education projects that help teachers experience, plan, teach, reflect and transform the new content knowledge and pedagogical skills from the projects into their own teaching. From these projects, can we also identify the areas of future needs in the research for STEM Education professional development?

Keywords: STEM Education, Professional Development, School-university Partnerships, Successful Characteristics

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.103-112. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 731.166KB).

Dr. Alan Zollman

Associate Professor and Past-President of SSMA, Department of Mathematical Sciences, NIU , School Science and Mathematics Association (SSMA), Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, USA

Currently Alan Zollman is an Associate Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Northern Illinois University. He also is the Past-President of the School Science and Mathematics Association (SSMA) which publishes the research journal, School Science and Mathematics. SSMA is an international organization dedicated to improving instruction in and between science and mathematics education. Prof. Zollman is a Past Vice-President for Publications of the Research Council on Mathematics Learning. In 2005, Alan received his university’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. He is a former middle and secondary school mathematics teacher.

Mansour Tahernezhadi

Associate Dean, College of Engineering and Engineering Technologies, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, USA

Dr. Mansour Tahernezhadi, is a Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering, and is Associate Dean of the College of Engineering & Engineering Technologies at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, USA. His areas of expertise are in Digital Communications and Signal Processing.

Penny Billman

Senior Researcher, Health Policy and Social Sciences Research, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Rockford, IL, USA

Dr. Penny Billman is a Research Assistant Professor in Health Policy and Social Sciences Research of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford, IL USA.