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  1. Integrated approaches to teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (commonly referred to as STEM education) in K-12 classrooms have resulted in a growing number of teachers incorporating engineering in their science classrooms. Such changes are a result of shifts in science standards to include engineering as evidenced by the Next Generation Science Standards. To date, 20 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the NGSS and another 24 have adopted standards based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education. Despite the increased presence of engineering and integrated STEM education in K-12 education, there are several concerns to consider. Onemore »concern is the limited availability of observation instruments appropriate for instruction where multiple STEM disciplines are present and integrated with one another. Addressing this concern requires the development of a new observation instrument, designed with integrated STEM instruction in mind. An instrument such as this has implications for both research and practice. For example, research using this instrument could help educators compare integrated STEM instruction across grade bands. Additionally, this tool could be useful in the preparation of pre-service teachers and professional development of in-service teachers new to integrated STEM education and formative learning through professional learning communities or classroom coaching. The work presented here describes in detail the development of an integrated STEM observation instrument that can be used for both research and practice. Over a period of approximately 18-months, a team of STEM educators and educational researchers developed a 10-item integrated STEM observation instrument for use in K-12 science and engineering classrooms. The process of developing the instrument began with establishing a conceptual framework, drawing on the integrated STEM research literature, national standards documents, and frameworks for both K-12 engineering education and integrated STEM education. As part of the instrument development process, the project team had access to over 2000 classroom videos where integrated STEM education took place. Initial analysis of a selection of these videos helped the project team write a preliminary draft instrument consisting of 52 items. Through several rounds of revisions, including the construction of detailed scoring levels of the items and collapsing of items that significantly overlapped, and piloting of the instrument for usability, items were added, edited, and/or removed for various reasons. These reasons included issues concerning the intricacy of the observed phenomenon or the item not being specific to integrated STEM education (e.g., questioning). In its final form, the instrument consists of 10 items, each comprising four descriptive levels. Each item is also accompanied by a set of user guidelines, which have been refined by the project team as a result of piloting the instrument and reviewed by external experts in the field. The instrument has shown to be reliable with the project team and further validation is underway. This instrument will be of use to a wide variety of educators and educational researchers looking to understand the implementation of integrated STEM education in K-12 science and engineering classrooms.« less
  2. This WIP presentation is intended to share and gather feedback on the development of an observation protocol for K-12 integrated STEM instruction, the STEM-OP. Specifically, the STEM-OP is being developed for use in K-12 science and/or engineering settings where integrated STEM instruction takes place. While the importance of integrated STEM education is established through national policy documents, there remains disagreement on models and effective approaches for integrated STEM instruction. Our broad definition of integrated STEM includes the use of two or more STEM disciplines to solve a real-world problem or design challenge that supports student development of 21st century skills.more »This issue is confounded by the lack of observation protocols sensitive to integrated STEM teaching and learning that can be used to inform research of the effectiveness of new models and strategies. Existing instruments most commonly used by researchers, such as the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP), were designed prior to the development of the Next Generation Science Standards and the integration of engineering into science standards. These instruments were also designed for use in reform-based science classrooms, not engineering or integrated STEM learning environments. While engineering-focused observation protocols do exist for K-12 classrooms, they do not evaluate beyond an engineering focus, making them limited tools to evaluate integrated STEM instruction. In order to facilitate the implementation of integrated STEM in K-12 classrooms and the development of the nascent integrated STEM education literature, our research team is developing a new integrated STEM observation protocol for use in K-12 science and engineering classrooms. This valid and reliable instrument will be designed for use in a variety of educational contexts and by different education stakeholders to increase the quality of K-12 STEM education. At the end of this project, the STEM-OP will be made available through an online platform that will include an embedded training program to facilitate its broad use. In the first year of this four-year project, we are working on the initial development of the STEM-OP through video analysis and exploratory factor analysis. We are utilizing existing classroom video from a previous project with approximately 2,000 unique classroom videos representing a variety of grade levels (4-9), science content (life, earth, and physical science), engineering design challenges, and school demographics (urban, suburban). The development of the STEM-OP is guided by published frameworks that focus on providing quality K-12 integrated STEM and engineering education, such as the Framework for Quality K-12 Engineering Education. Our anticipated results at the time the ASEE meeting will include a review of our item development process and finalized items included on the draft STEM-OP. Additionally, we anticipate being able to share findings from the exploratory factor analysis (EFA) on our video-coded data, which will identify distinct instructional dimensions responsible for integrated STEM instruction. We value the opportunity to gather feedback from the engineering education community as the integration of engineering design and practices is integral to quality integrated STEM instruction.« less