Monday, August 1, 2016

Chapter III. Mixed Method Comparative Case Study Design

Presently, there is no established agreement on the proper methodology of integrating STEM in elementary schools. However, I felt that interdisciplinary STEM education will be most successful at the elementary level, due to the fact that students spend most of their academic day with the same teacher in all content areas. Research indicates that traditionally underserved, minoirtized population of students engage in problem-based learning activities (e.g.: STEM-foundational thinking, instructional activities and assessments) will exhibit an increased performance in their overall academic achievement, critical thinking skills, and cooperative learning strategies (Cole, 1995; Tharp, R.G., Doherty, R. W., Echevarria, J., Estrada, p., Goldenberg, C., Hillberg, R.S., & Saunders, W.M., 2004). Therefore, we invited seven urban elementary schools from a large urban district to
participate in research designed to understand the school systems that may support STEM-foundational thinking and activities. We focused on the elementary school level because it is in these early academic years where students find their interests in STEM either helped or hindered. Our research analyzed school performance and process data (both quantitative and qualitative) and each school received a report designed to help them incorporate the findings into school improvement efforts. Seven elementary schools agreed to participate. Participation with this project intended to simultaneously help individual schools learn with and from other sites engaged in similar work. Led by the Center for Practice Engaged Education Research (C-PEER) at the CU Denver School of Education and Human Development, this technical assistance brought research expertise to support school improvement efforts. It helped fill gaps in local staff time, bridge challenges accessing performance and process data, and provide access to additional resources and learning from other school sites.