NGSS and the landscape of engineering in K-12 state science standards

Tamara J. Moore, Kristina M. Tank, Aran W. Glancy and Jennifer A. Kersten

Recent documents pertaining to K-12 education have fostered a connection between engineering and science education to help better prepare our students and future citizens to better meet the current and future challenges of our modern and technological society. With that connection, there has been a concerted effort to raise the visibility of engineering within K-12 science education, which is reflected in the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the recently released Next Generation Science Standards. As states look towards the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards, it is important to take a deeper look at the shift in K-12 science education that is being suggested by these documents and what that means in terms of the potential changes for states that have chosen to adopt these standards. The main research question that has guided the work for this paper is: What is the extent and quality of the engineering that is present in state science standards and the Next Generation Science Standards? This paper will present a detailed analysis of the landscape of engineering in K-12 policy before and after the release of the NGSS through a comparative case study of academic state science standards and Next Generation Science Standards. This comparison provides insight into what the widespread adoption of the NGSS would mean in terms of potential changes in the way we implement science education in the United States.



Development of a cognition-priming model describing learning in a STEM classroom

Richard Lamb, Tariq Akmal and Kaylan Petrie

Successful STEM learning depends on the interaction of affect, cognition, and application of ideas. Simply put students who are unwilling to persist in STEM based endeavors do not suddenly develop into scientists, mathematicians, engineers or computer scientists, nor do they seek out STEM related courses or STEM based careers. The purpose of this study is to investigate content, cognitive, and affective outcomes related to STEM integrated curriculum within the K-5 arena. Educational and psychological literature tends to focus one aspect of the other when examining the role of affect and cognition on student outcomes. Current trends in educational measurement and psychometrics have begun to address the artificial disconnect that exists between affect, cognition, and content outcomes within the science education literature. The methods used to develop the results within this study are a mixture of quantitative methods to develop a model of learning occurring in a STEM school. Using ANOVA, structural equation modeling, and model analysis, an understanding of the problems presented becomes clear. Analysis of model fit statistics suggests adequate model fit (χ2(21) = 30.91, p = 0.075, CFI = 0.94, TLI = 0.93, RMSEA = 0.04, SRMR = 0.05). The standardized structural coefficients for the path from group to each of the constructs is statistically significant (p < 0.05) thus indicating that the two groups differ on the constructs of self-efficacy, science interest, spatial visualization, and mental rotation. An estimate of effect size of the mean group difference across the statistically significant constructs reveals self-efficacy (d = 1.27, large), science interest (d = 1.97, large), spatial visualization (d = 1.30, large), and mental rotation (d = 1.42, large). There is considerable evidence that the inclusion, STEM integrated learning at the earlier elementary level becomes critically important for the students as they progress in school.


Positionings of racial, ethnic, and linguistic minority students in high school biology class: Implications for science education in diverse classrooms

Minjung Ryu

In the present study, I analyze ethnographic data from a year-long study of two Advanced Placement (AP) Biology classes that enrolled students with diverse racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds. Specifically, I consider participation, positioning, and learning of newcomer Korean students in the focal classes. Building on the notion of figured worlds, I define the AP Biology classes as a localized figured world in which students position and are positioned within its interpretive frameworks and analyze how newcomer Koreans are positioned in relation to each other. The analysis illustrates that students were relationally positioned, primarily based on their biology achievement and discursive participation, among other interpretive frameworks. In this localized figured world, newcomer Korean students were positioned at a lower status because they did not participate in the classroom discourses, as well as their lack of speech and certain forms of speech indicated their failure to adequately learn English and U.S. school practices. Based on the findings, I discuss practices and ideologies about science, classroom participation, and transnational students that are prevalent in broader contexts and reflected in the localized figured world. In light of the national and international contexts in which increasingly more people migrate across national borders, I draw implications for science education in racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse classrooms.


Enacting acts of authentication in a robotics competition: An interpretivist study

Geeta Verma, Anton Puvirajah and Horace Webb

While the science classroom primarily remains a site for knowledge acquisition through teacher directed experiences, other sites exist outside of the classroom that allow for student generation of scientific knowledge. These sites provide opportunities for linguistic and social interactions to play a powerful role in situating students’ science learning experiences. Augmenting students’ formal school science experiences with informal experiences outside of the classroom enables them to intersect their personal knowledge with canonical disciplinary knowledge. This allows for conditions of practice that are more relevant to the students. In this study we introduce the notion of acts of authentication to examine the nature of students’ linguistic and social activities in an informal setting—a regional robotics competition. These acts of authentication are a) participating in talk (including everyday); b) participating in productive disciplinary engagement (by co-constructing and critiquing knowledge); and c) being a member of a community of practice. We used Critical Discourse Analysis to examine students’ and mentor’s dialogic language to gain insights into the nature of their robotics experiences. Our findings indicate that the robotics experience offered rich opportunities for students to engage in acts of authentication. Our study offers conceptual insights into how the culture of the robotics activities both constructs and is constructed by the linguistic and social experiences of the students and their mentors.