STEM education in Cobb is increasing in popularity – more schools are integrating STEM learning into their instructional practices and making it an integral part of what they teach. Thirty-one schools have earned Cobb STEM Certification and over thirty more are actively seeking certification. A recent comparison of academic proficiency of students in STEM schools compared to their peers in non-STEM schools showed that this focus in paying off. Fifth and eighth grade students that attend STEM-certified schools outperformed students in non-STEM-certified schools and exceeded the overall district average on end-of-grade assessments in Math, Science and English Language Arts.
A number of factors impact student academic success on end of grade assessments. The intentional integration of STEM instructional practices in the classroom is one of those factors. In STEM schools, teachers spend a great deal of time planning collaboratively to design problem-based learning experiences which integrate concepts from multiple disciplines. This approach encourages students to make connections between concepts not only in math and science but also in reading, writing and even social studies. The focus is not merely on learning new content but also on the application of this new knowledge to solve problems in innovative ways.
While problem-based learning in not new, it is a common practice among STEM schools. These data suggest that STEM is an effective practice that is helping students be more successful on end-of-grade assessments. In STEM education, students are taught skills that they can use in the real world. This motivates students to learn as they know that the skills that they acquire can be utilized immediately. The ability to apply their knowledge to new and novel tasks will bode well for them when they enter the workforce.
For more information please go to www.stemcobb.com.
Dr. Sally Creel, Supervisor
STEM and Innovative Practice