Survey Findings Reveal Opportunities to Strengthen STEM Education in Maine through K-20 Collaborations
Maine Campus Compact (MCC), with support from Maine Experiential Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), conducted a statewide landscape analysis to assess science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in Maine. These surveys (one for secondary schools and the other for higher education) identified current STEM education practices and challenges while investigating ways to advance STEM education through collaborative opportunities between higher education and K-12 schools in Maine.
In total, surveys were sent to 573 secondary school (SS) and higher education (HE) educators, administrators, and staff with a 29% response rate. Key survey findings revealed that:
- 90% of SS respondents and 91% HE respondents believe that collaboration between K-12 and higher education would help strengthen STEM education.
- SS respondents consider the top three challenges facing STEM education in Maine to be insufficient funding for K-12 STEM education (96%), lack of good professional development for STEM educators (88%) and inadequate links within the K-20 pipeline (87%).
- Most effective collaborations with HE as identified by SS respondents are: 1) interactive field trips to HE research sites, 2) professional development opportunities and 3) one-week STEM learning modules for the classroom.
- Major challenges facing HE STEM programming are lack of preparation for college level STEM courses (67%), insufficient funding for STEM K-12 education (62%), and inadequate links between the K-12 pipeline (58%).
- Only 59% of HE respondents report that their HE institution currently integrates community engagement into STEM curricula, despite 93% of SS respondents stating that it would help to strengthen STEM education.
The results of the SS and HE surveys have provided a valuable road map to address gaps in STEM education in Maine and have culminated in the development of a menu of easily replicated, collaborative models, titled STEM Engaging Initiatives.
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