Relevance for Complex Systems Knowledge
- They have worked with all disciplines, science, technology, engineering and mathematics through interdisciplinary integration in extracurricular activities for young people in the United States.
- A total of 158 STEM-focused afterschool programs participated in the study. The programs represented a variety of settings, including school-based (69.8%), community-based (28.2%), or other (2.0%), and program size ranged widely between three and 80 students (with an average of approximately 14 and a median of 20) based on the number of students observed participating in STEM activities.
- The analysis is carried out by the CIS-S. The CIS-S is a student self-report measure of five STEM attitudes and four SEL/twenty-first-century skills (see Table 2). Scales range from 5 to 10 items, but the number of items completed by students were reduced using a planned missing data design. While many of the items on the CIS-S give emphasis to general science, we report results as STEM outcomes broadly because the survey includes items that address all four domains that make up STEM and most programs facilitate activities that incorporate elements from two, three, or all four STEM domains
- 1) Most youth (65–85%) reported increases in STEM engagement, identity, career interest, career knowledge, relationships, critical thinking, and perseverance, with the largest gains reported by those engaging with STEM activities for 4 weeks or more; (2) there were significant, strong correlations between STEM and SEL/twenty-first-century outcomes reported by youth; and (3) youth participating in higher-quality STEM programming reported more growth than peers participating in lower-quality programs.
The conclusions: This effort demonstrates how investments in STEM program quality yield high returns for programs and youth and how collaborations between research and practice can track successes and challenges, determine investments in program management, and expand advocacy and policy efforts. Additionally, this study supports a growing body of literature that suggests a synergy between youth development and STEM learning approaches that can improve outcomes for youth
This article does not work on gender or the circular economy, but is more a study of how to improve STEM interest and school programming aimed at this trend through after-school programs with primary and secondary school students, also taking into account social-emotional learning.