STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields are growing significantly but studies show that American kids will not be competitive to get these jobs. For example, a study conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2012 indicates that 15-year-old Americans were outperformed in STEM by their European and Asian counterparts (Source: www.nces.ed.gov). President Obama, himself, explained in 2009 that “Reaffirming and strengthening America’s role as the world’s engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation is essential to meeting the challenges of this century” (Source: www.whitehouse.org). His assertion illuminates the need to spread awareness and education for STEM fields among our community.
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The Indiana State Board of Education has approved the newly revised 2016 Science Standards for the State of Indiana. The science standards revision process began well over a year ago and was modeled after the standards revision process implemented in 2014 for Mathematics and English Language Arts Standards. Additionally, the resources and supporting documentation for the science standards is similar to that of Math and ELA in order to remain consistent for Indiana’s teachers.
When Indiana adopted new science standards in 2010, we led the country with the inclusion of Engineering and Technology Standards. Indiana will continue to lead and prepare students for the 21st century workforce by including Computer Science standards K-8.
The Indiana Department of Education formed committees of teachers and professors in April of 2015 to review the 2010 standards. Committees were composed of a wide demographic of experts and geographically represented the entire state. These committees met virtually providing comments and suggestions in spreadsheets. Suggestions and comments were reviewed by a leadership team composed of master teachers, education and content professors, and then were vetted against the most up to date research in science education, the Framework for K12 Science Education.
The standards have been reviewed through multiple statewide public comment periods. Comments from the public were again considered by the leadership team, vetted against research, and where needed, revisions were made. Most importantly, the public comments provided the Department guidance about resources and implementation. The Department intends to provide a variety of supports for classroom teachers to implement the 2016 standards, including regional professional development, resource guides, correlation documents, and collaborations with organizations to provide additional support, such as with IUPUI and Nextech for Computer Science professional development. Examples of resources have been provided for review. With adoption, IDOE specialists will continue resource development anticipating all resources to be prepared by mid-May.