Title

Work in Progress – The Development of a K-12 Integrated STEM Observation Protocol

Date of this Version

June 2019

Document Type

Article

Abstract

This WIP presentation is intended to share and gather feedback on the development of an observation protocol for K-12 integrated STEM instruction, the STEM-OP. Specifically, the STEM-OP is being developed for use in K-12 science and/or engineering settings where integrated STEM instruction takes place. While the importance of integrated STEM education is established through national policy documents, there remains disagreement on models and effective approaches for integrated STEM instruction. Our broad definition of integrated STEM includes the use of two or more STEM disciplines to solve a real-world problem or design challenge that supports student development of 21st century skills. This issue is confounded by the lack of observation protocols sensitive to integrated STEM teaching and learning that can be used to inform research of the effectiveness of new models and strategies. Existing instruments most commonly used by researchers, such as the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP), were designed prior to the development of the Next Generation Science Standards and the integration of engineering into science standards. These instruments were also designed for use in reform-based science classrooms, not engineering or integrated STEM learning environments. While engineering-focused observation protocols do exist for K-12 classrooms, they do not evaluate beyond an engineering focus, making them limited tools to evaluate integrated STEM instruction. In order to facilitate the implementation of integrated STEM in K-12 classrooms and the development of the nascent integrated STEM education literature, our research team is developing a new integrated STEM observation protocol for use in K-12 science and engineering classrooms. This valid and reliable instrument will be designed for use in a variety of educational contexts and by different education stakeholders to increase the quality of K-12 STEM education. At the end of this project, the STEM-OP will be made available through an online platform that will include an embedded training program to facilitate its broad use. In the first year of this four-year project, we are working on the initial development of the STEM-OP through video analysis and exploratory factor analysis. We are utilizing existing classroom video from a previous project with approximately 2,000 unique classroom videos representing a variety of grade levels (4-9), science content (life, earth, and physical science), engineering design challenges, and school demographics (urban, suburban). The development of the STEM-OP is guided by published frameworks that focus on providing quality K-12 integrated STEM and engineering education, such as the Framework for Quality K-12 Engineering Education. Our anticipated results at the time the ASEE meeting will include a review of our item development process and finalized items included on the draft STEM-OP. Additionally, we anticipate being able to share findings from the exploratory factor analysis (EFA) on our video-coded data, which will identify distinct instructional dimensions responsible for integrated STEM instruction. We value the opportunity to gather feedback from the engineering education community as the integration of engineering design and practices is integral to quality integrated STEM instruction.

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