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  1. Jessica Mislevy
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  1. Claire Christensen
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  3. Education Researcher
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  5. SRI International
  1. SHARI GARDNER
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  1. Sarah Gerard
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  3. Education Researcher
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Developing a K-12 STEM Education Indicator System

2017 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

STEM education has a major impact on economic prosperity. In 2012, Congress asked NSF to identify methods for tracking progress toward improvement in K-12 STEM education. In response, the National Research Council proposed a set of 14 progress indicators related to students’ access to quality learning, educators’ capacity, and policy and funding initiatives in STEM. The 14 indicators address three distinct levels of the education system: effective STEM instructional practices in the classroom; school conditions that support STEM learning; and policies that support effective schools and STEM instruction.

The K-12 STEM Education indicator system is designed to drive improvement, not to serve as a formal accountability system. The system can illuminate areas where education practices could be modified to improve the quality of K-12 STEM education, as well as improve issues of equity and access. While researchers have long measured educational system outputs, like student test scores and career choices, the U.S. has done little to measure the components in the “black box” of the education system that influence student achievement and career interests.

SRI International has supported efforts by NSF to further study and develop this set of indicators that can be used by policymakers, researchers, and practitioners to monitor components of K-12 STEM education and to guide improvements. This system of indicators has impacted research and theory about K-12 STEM education, providing a generative framework for other researchers and supporting the development of evidence that advances the field and supplies policymakers with information to guide policy decisions at the federal, state, and local levels.

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