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Researchers Find Common Traits That Account For Strong STEM Outcomes in Schools


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Researchers from George Washington University, SRI International, and George Mason University have identified 14 components common to exceptional high schools with science, technology, engineering, and math programs.

Credit: NAP.edu

Researchers from George Washington University, SRI International, and George Mason University have identified 14 components common to exceptional high schools with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs.

As part of a five-year study of eight inclusive STEM schools that target underrepresented minorities, the researchers have developed tools and guidelines to help other schools experience similar successes.

The unaffiliated schools chosen for the study shared a common mission to foster STEM success, achieving nearly 100% graduation and college admissions rates. Unlike traditional, selective STEM-focused schools that target students already gifted in STEM subjects, inclusive STEM schools cater to all students, particularly females, minorities, and students from low-income homes.

Among the 14 components, four components were particularly prominent in the eight schools. First, all students received rigorous instruction that prepared them for college STEM majors. Second, the schools were staffed with well-qualified, experienced teachers with STEM backgrounds. Third, virtual and in-person tutoring, study groups, and progress-monitoring systems provided support for a wide range of students with a variety of backgrounds. Finally, the high schools were small and had some autonomy from school district policies to create different instructional standards.

From George Washington University
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