Tag Archives: Science Education

City University of New York study: More underrepresented students obtain science degrees and pursue STEM, due to research mentoring

11 Sep

Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.
A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 and http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html   Jason DeParle reported in the New York Times article, For Poor Strivers, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/education/poor-students-struggle-as-class-plays-a-greater-role-in-success.html?hpw&_r=0

Social class and background may not only affect an individual student’s choice of major, but their completion of college in that major. Nick De Santis reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Report Examines College Students’ Attrition From STEM Majors:

Twenty-eight percent of bachelor’s-degree students who began their postsecondary education in the 2003-4 academic year chose a major in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics at some point within six years, but 48 percent of students who entered those fields during that period had left them by the spring of 2009, according to a report released on Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Education Department’s statistical arm.
The report, which addresses attrition from the so-called STEM fields, also includes information on students pursuing associate degrees. It says that 20 percent of such students had chosen a STEM major within that six-year period and notes that 69 percent of them had left the STEM fields by the spring of 2009.
Of the students who left STEM fields, the report says, roughly half switched their major to a non-STEM field, and the rest left college without earning a degree or certificate. The report notes that fields such as the humanities and education experienced higher levels of attrition than did the STEM disciplines.
The report identifies several factors associated with a higher probability of switching out of STEM majors, such as taking lighter STEM course loads or less-challenging math classes in the first year, and earning lower grades in STEM courses than in others….
http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/report-examines-college-students-attrition-from-stem-majors/69705?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en

A Cornell University study found that should women remain in STEM programs they might be preferred for tenure-track faculty positions.  http://www.usnews.com/news/stem-solutions/articles/2015/04/13/report-faculty-prefer-women-for-tenure-track-stem-positions

Science Daily reported in More underrepresented students obtain science degrees and pursue STEM, due to research mentoring:

Graduation rates among science majors at a large minority-serving college have nearly tripled since the implementation of an undergraduate research experience (URE) program ten years ago. A new study in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching indicates that undergraduates who participate in mentored research not only graduate more often with science degrees, but also attend graduate school and pursue STEM careers at higher rates.

Established in 2006, John Jay College’s Program for Research Initiatives in Science and Math (PRISM) is an URE program that enables undergraduates to carry out guided scientific research. Although undergraduate STEM research has been de rigueur at major research universities, public Minority- and Hispanic-serving institutions like John Jay have historically struggled to provide their students with equivalent experiences and to keep them competitive with their majority peers. Tailored to students and faculty, PRISM has benefited both participants and the college. An extensive case study revealed that graduation rates from science have nearly tripled since PRISM’s inception, that the number of students pursuing graduate degrees has grown nearly ten fold, and that students receive author credit on journal articles more often than at other institutions. Furthermore, John Jay has seen a growth in both external funding and in full-time faculty focused on STEM research…                                                                                     https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160908120344.htm

Citation:

More underrepresented students obtain science degrees and pursue STEM, due to research mentoring

Date:          September 8, 2016

Source:      The City University of New York

Summary:

A new study indicates that undergraduates who participate in mentored research not only graduate more often with science degrees, but also attend graduate school and pursue STEM careers at higher rates.

Journal Reference:

  1. Anthony Carpi, Darcy M. Ronan, Heather M. Falconer, Nathan H. Lents. Cultivating minority scientists: Undergraduate research increases self-efficacy and career ambitions for underrepresented students in STEM. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 2016; DOI: 10.1002/tea.21341

Here is the press release from City University of New York:

Public Release: 8-Sep-2016

More underrepresented students obtain science degrees & pursue STEM, due to research mentoring

The City University of New York

New York, NY – Graduation rates among science majors at a large minority-serving college have nearly tripled since the implementation of an undergraduate research experience (URE) program ten years ago. A new study in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching indicates that undergraduates who participate in mentored research not only graduate more often with science degrees, but also attend graduate school and pursue STEM careers at higher rates.

Established in 2006, John Jay College’s Program for Research Initiatives in Science and Math (PRISM) is an URE program that enables undergraduates to carry out guided scientific research. Although undergraduate STEM research has been de rigueur at major research universities, public Minority- and Hispanic-serving institutions like John Jay have historically struggled to provide their students with equivalent experiences and to keep them competitive with their majority peers. Tailored to students and faculty, PRISM has benefited both participants and the college. An extensive case study revealed that graduation rates from science have nearly tripled since PRISM’s inception, that the number of students pursuing graduate degrees has grown nearly ten fold, and that students receive author credit on journal articles more often than at other institutions. Furthermore, John Jay has seen a growth in both external funding and in full-time faculty focused on STEM research.

To reach these conclusions, researchers made use of institutional and program data collected over three years, interviews and focus groups, and surveys. Notably, the study found that PRISM positively affected students’ decisions to pursue graduate degrees and STEM careers, impacting Black and Hispanic participants more significantly than their White and Asian counterparts. Lead author Anthony Carpi, Professor of Environmental Toxicology and Dean of Research at John Jay College, City University of New York, said, “We were delighted to see the impact that undergraduate research experiences have on our students’ career plans. John Jay has a robust and diverse pipeline of students moving on to post-graduate professional careers in STEM fields, and it is exciting to see these students becoming skilled scientists.”

Norman Lederman, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology, said, “It has long been known that actual research experiences in science and mathematics impact students’ attitudes toward science and mathematics as well as the STEM career aspirations of pre-college and college students. It has also been known that under represented students tend to select themselves out of STEM fields for a variety of social and cultural reasons. The PRISM program at John Jay College has produced extremely compelling results and it serves as an impressive model for other universities, especially those that do not initially have high-level research profiles.”

This study represents the initial stage of a multi-pronged evaluation of John Jay’s URE program with subsequent phases focusing on quantitative comparisons. For now, PRISM appears not only to redress some of the education and employment inequities faced by minority students, but also to serve as an example to other institutions that wish to send more underrepresented students into the STEM workforce.

###

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, and other professional schools. The University serves nearly 275,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students.

For more information, please contact Shante Brooker.

The Cornell study points to the need for good science education to prepare a diverse population for opportunities. K-12 education must not only prepare students by teaching basic skills, but they must prepare students for training after high school, either college or vocational. There should not only be a solid education foundation established in K-12, but there must be more accurate evaluation of whether individual students are “college ready.”

Related:

Girls and math phobia
https://drwilda.com/2012/01/20/girls-and-math-phobia/

Study: Gender behavior differences lead to higher grades for girls

https://drwilda.com/2013/01/07/study-gender-behavior-differences-lead-to-higher-grades-for-girls/

University of Missouri study: Counting ability predicts future math ability of preschoolers https://drwilda.com/2012/11/15/university-of-missouri-study-counting-ability-predicts-future-math-ability-of-preschoolers/

Is an individualized program more effective in math learning?
https://drwilda.com/2012/10/10/is-an-individualized-program-more-effective-in-math-learning

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American Educational Research Association study: Science achievement gaps begin by kindergarten

24 Feb

Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well.

A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/us/class/shadowy-lines-that-still-divide.html    describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Social Class   http://www.nytimes.com/pages/national/class/index.html

Science Daily reported in Science achievement gaps begin by kindergarten:

Large science achievement gaps at the end of eighth grade between white and racial/ethnic minority children and between children from higher- and lower-income families are rooted in large yet modifiable general knowledge gaps already present by the time children enter kindergarten, according to new research published today in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

Analyzing data from the National Center for Education Statistics on over 7,750 children from kindergarten entry to the end of eighth grade, a team of researchers-Paul L. Morgan (Pennsylvania State University), George Farkas (University of California, Irvine), Marianne M. Hillemeier (Pennsylvania State University), and Steve Maczuga (Pennsylvania State University) — found that kindergarten children’s general knowledge about the world was the strongest predictor of their general knowledge in first grade, which in turn was the strongest predictor of their science achievement in third grade. Children’s science achievement gaps were then fairly stable from third through eighth grade.

Mathematics and reading achievement were associated with science achievement during third to eighth grades, suggesting that increasing math and reading skills for lower performing children may help to address science achievement gaps. The findings are consistent with prior research showing that the level of children’s achievement in reading or mathematics by kindergarten is strongly predictive of their achievement throughout elementary school, and that achievement gaps begin very early.

“If you enter kindergarten with very little knowledge about the natural and social world, you are likely to be struggling in science by third grade, and you are then likely to still be struggling in science by eighth grade,” said Paul L. Morgan, an associate professor of education policy studies at Pennsylvania State University.

Among children entering kindergarten with low levels of general knowledge, 62 percent and 54 percent were struggling in science in third and eighth grade, respectively.

General knowledge gaps between racial/ethnic minority and white children were already large at kindergarten entry. For example, 58 percent, 41 percent, and 52 percent of black, Hispanic, and American Indian children had general knowledge scores in the bottom 25 percent at kindergarten entry. The contrasting percentage for white children was only 15 percent. About 65 percent of low-income children entered kindergarten with low levels of general knowledge. Only 10 percent of high-income children did so….                                                                                                 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160223132721.htm

Citation:

Science achievement gaps begin by kindergarten

Date:     February 23, 2016

Source:   American Educational Research Association

Summary:

Large science achievement gaps at the end of eighth grade between white and racial/ethnic minority children and between children from higher-and lower-income families are rooted in large yet modifiable general knowledge gaps already present by the time children enter kindergarten, according to new research.

Journal Reference:

  1. P. L. Morgan, G. Farkas, M. M. Hillemeier, S. Maczuga. Science Achievement Gaps Begin Very Early, Persist, and Are Largely Explained by Modifiable Factors. Educational Researcher, 2016; 45 (1): 18 DOI: 10.3102/0013189X16633182

Here is the press release from AERA:

 Science Achievement Gaps Begin by Kindergarten

For Immediate Release
February 23, 2016

Contact:
Tony Pals, tpals@aera.net
(202) 238-3235, (202) 288-9333 (cell)

Victoria Oms, voms@aera.net
(202) 238-3233

Science Achievement Gaps Begin by Kindergarten

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 23—Large science achievement gaps at the end of eighth grade between white and racial/ethnic minority children and between children from higher- and lower-income families are rooted in large yet modifiable general knowledge gaps already present by thetime children enter kindergarten, according to new research published today in Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

Analyzing data from the National Center for Education Statistics on over 7,750 children from kindergarten entry to the end of eighth grade, a team of researchers—Paul L. Morgan (Pennsylvania State University), George Farkas (University of California, Irvine), Marianne M. Hillemeier (Pennsylvania State University), and Steve Maczuga (Pennsylvania State University)—found that kindergarten children’s general knowledge about the world was the strongest predictor of their general knowledge in first grade, which in turn was the strongest predictor of their science achievement in third grade. Children’s science achievement gaps were then fairly stable from third through eighth grade.

Mathematics and reading achievement were associated with science achievement during third to eighth grades, suggesting that increasing math and reading skills for lower performing children may help to address science achievement gaps. The findings are consistent with prior research showing that the level of children’s achievement in reading or mathematics by kindergarten is strongly predictive of their achievement throughout elementary school, and that achievement gaps begin very early.

“If you enter kindergarten with very little knowledge about the natural and social world, you are likely to be struggling in science by third grade, and you are then likely to still be struggling in science by eighth grade,” said Paul L. Morgan, an associate professor of education policy studies at Pennsylvania State University.

Among children entering kindergarten with low levels of general knowledge, 62 percent and 54 percent were struggling in science in third and eighth grade, respectively.

General knowledge gaps between racial/ethnic minority and white children were already large at kindergarten entry. For example, 58 percent, 41 percent, and 52 percent of black, Hispanic, and American Indian children had general knowledge scores in the bottom 25 percent at kindergarten entry. The contrasting percentage for white children was only 15 percent. About 65 percent of low-income children entered kindergarten with low levels of general knowledge. Only 10 percent of high-income children did so.

“We were dismayed by how early the gaps emerged,” said Morgan. “However, the gaps were also largely explained by modifiable factors, including those that can be addressed by policymakers. Our findings argue for the importance of intervening early, particularly for children who may be at risk because of fewer opportunities to informally learn about science prior to beginning elementary school.”

The researchers noted that children from traditionally marginalized groups have lower access to high-quality childcare and preschools, a circumstance that limits their learning opportunities prior to entering kindergarten. Income inequality and racial segregation in schools then perpetuate the disparities in learning opportunities and contribute to science achievement gaps throughout the elementary and middle grades.

“Science achievement gaps are themselves mostly explained by underlying inequities that we, as a society, too often tolerate or simply decide not to fully address,” Morgan said.

The findings suggest that, for the United States to retain its long-term scientific and economic competitiveness, policymakers should redouble efforts to ensure access to high-quality early learning experiences in childcare settings, preschools, and elementary schools, particularly for children who are at risk. According to a 2010 National Academies report, low levels of science achievement in the United States are no longer a “gathering storm” but now are “rapidly approaching a Category 5” in their potential to derail the nation’s long-term global competitiveness. Waiting to address science achievement gaps by middle or high school may be waiting too late.

At the family level, Morgan said that regularly talking and interacting with very young children, pointing out and conversing about physical, natural, and social events that are occurring around them, and supportively extending their general knowledge about the world may be ways that parents can help their children learn the facts and concepts that will prepare them to take full advantage of the science instruction they receive during elementary and middle school.

To read the full study, click HERE. To speak with study author Paul L. Morgan, please contact Tony Pals at tpals@aera.net or Victoria Oms at voms@aera.net.

Funding Note
Funding for this study was provided by the National Center for Special Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

About AERA
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. Founded in 1916, AERA advances knowledge about education, encourages scholarly inquiry related to education, and promotes the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. Find AERA on Facebook and Twitter.

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the country and there must be good schools in all parts of this society. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status.

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The Next Generation Science Standards

15 Apr

Moi wrote about the importance of science education in STEM majors profit college students of color:

As a society, we want all college students to be successful. For many students of color, college is often a daunting experience. According to the National Center on Education Statistics:

The percentage of college students who are Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Black has been increasing. From 1976 to 2009, the percentage of Hispanic students rose from 3 percent to 12 percent, the percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander students rose from 2 percent to 7 percent, and the percentage of Black students rose from 9 percent to 14 percent. During the same period, the percentage of White students fell from 83 percent to 62 percent. Nonresident aliens, for whom race/ethnicity is not reported, made up 3 percent of the total enrollment in 2009. http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=98

See, Minorities and the Recession-Era College Enrollment Boom http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2010/06/16/minorities-and-the-recession-era-college-enrollment-boom/

Patrice Peck is reporting in the Huffington Post article, STEM Majors Prove Especially Profitable For Minority Students: Study:

And with studies showing that college degrees still hold their value, despite the economic downturn, choosing a major that yields the right post-graduate rewards is more important than ever.

According to a study published in the June issue of Research in Higher Education, majoring in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) proves to be the most profitable for minority students, whether they actually pursue the STEM field professionally or not.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education, followed more than 1,000 Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino and black students over a period of nine years in an effort to determine the profitability of STEM degrees and help bridge the gap of minorities in those fields.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/stem-majors-profitable-minority-students_n_1785021.html?utm_hp_ref=education&ir=Education

The Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM defines STEM:

 What is STEM Education?

Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics

In 2001, Judith A. Ramaley, a former director of the National Science Foundation’s education and human-resources division was credited by many educators with being the first person to brand science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum as STEM. It was swiftly adopted by numerous institutions of higher education as well as the scientific communities as an important focus for education policy focus and development.

TIES always views STEM instruction and the STEM resources that support the instruction with a trans-disciplinary lens. Issues in our world arise and are demanding of solutions. Since before Da Vinci, we have taken up this call to action through the design process. It asks for a multiplicity of pathways to offer a series of plausible solutions. From that process has come the power of prototyping, and beta testing. Rarely have our classrooms offered children the chance to engage in such questioning and processes. Now, through STEM education we have the chance to invite our children to look at their school work as important to the world.

For information on how TIES STEM Consulting can work with your organization to launch a comprehensive STEM curriculum program contact us at 443-955-9168 or via email . http://www.tiesteach.org/stem-education.aspx

The study, The Earnings Benefits of Majoring in STEM Fields among High Achieving Minority Students examines the benefits of STEM education for college students of color.

Citation:

Title: The Earnings Benefits of Majoring in STEM Fields among High Achieving Minority Students

Full-Text Availability Options:

Help Finding Full Text |  Find in a Library |  Publisher’s Web Site

Related Items:Show Related Items

https://drwilda.com/2012/08/19/stem-majors-profit-college-students-of-color/

Resources:

STEM Education Coalition                                      http://www.stemedcoalition.org/

What Is STEM Education?                                              http://www.sciencemag.org/content/329/5995/996.summary

Justin Gillis writes in the New York Times article, New Guidelines Call for Broad Changes in Science Education:

Educators unveiled new guidelines on Tuesday that call for sweeping changes in the way science is taught in the United States — including, for the first time, a recommendation that climate change be taught as early as middle school.

The guidelines also take a firm stand that children must learn about evolution, the central organizing idea in the biological sciences for more than a century, but one that still provokes a backlash among some religious conservatives.

The guidelines, known as the Next Generation Science Standards, are the first broad national recommendations for science instruction since 1996. They were developed by a consortium of 26 state governments and several groups representing scientists and teachers.

States are not required to adopt them, but 26 states have committed to seriously considering the guidelines. They include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Kansas and New York. Other states could also adopt the standards.

Educators involved in drawing them up said the guidelines were intended to combat widespread scientific ignorance, to standardize teaching among states, and to raise the number of high school graduates who choose scientific and technical majors in college, a critical issue for the country’s economic future.

The focus would be helping students become more intelligent science consumers by learning how scientific work is done: how ideas are developed and tested, what counts as strong or weak evidence, and how insights from many disciplines fit together into a coherent picture of the world. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/10/science/panel-calls-for-broad-changes-in-science-education.html?emc=eta1

Here are some frequently asked questions:

Purpose of Next Generation Science Standards

Why new science standards? Why now?

Science—and therefore science education—is central to the lives of all Americans, preparing them to be informed citizens in a democracy and knowledgeable consumers.  It is also the case that if the nation is to compete and lead in the global economy and if American students are to be able to pursue expanding employment opportunities in science-related fields, all students must all have a solid K–12 science education that prepares them for college and careers. States have previously used the National Science Education Standards from the National Research Council (NRC) and Benchmarks for Science Literacy from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to guide the development of their current state science standards. While these two documents have proven to be both durable and of high quality, they are around 15 years old.  Needless to say, major advances have since taken place in the world of science and in our understanding of how students learn science effectively. The time is right to take a fresh look and develop Next Generation Science Standards.

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Purpose for the Standards

Contents and Research Background of the Standards

Standards Development Process

Next Steps for the Standards and Framework

http://www.nextgenscience.org/faq

Obviously these standards are aligned for the common core and there are proponents and opponents of the common core. Time will tell if these standards move more students’ academic achievement.

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