Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Reconceptualizing STEM Education- A Review

I was fortunate to be asked to contribute a chapter to this new volume by Richard Duschl and Amber Bismark on Reconceptualizing STEM Education. My chapter was about data modelling and pre-service teacher preparation. What follows is a review that was recently published on the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) website.

Petrosino, A. J. (2016). Teachers Use of Data, Measurement, and Data Modeling in Quantitative Reasoning. In R. Duschl & A. Bismarck (Eds), Reconceptualizing STEM Education: The Central Role of Practices (pp.167-180). New York: Taylor & Francis/Routledge.


Reconceptualizing STEM Education explores and maps out research and development ideas and issues around five central practice themes: Systems Thinking; Model-Based Reasoning; Quantitative Reasoning; Equity, Epistemic, and Ethical Outcomes; and STEM Communication and Outreach. These themes are aligned with the comprehensive agenda for the reform of science and engineering education set out by the 2015 PISA Framework, the US Next Generation Science Standards and the US National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education. The new practice-focused agenda has implications for the redesign of preK-12 education for alignment of curriculum-instruction-assessment; STEM teacher education and professional development; postsecondary, further, and graduate studies; and out-of-school informal education. In each section, experts set out powerful ideas followed by two eminent discussant responses that both respond to and provoke additional ideas from the lead papers. In the associated website <> highly distinguished, nationally recognized STEM education scholars and policymakers engage in deep conversations and considerations addressing core practices that guide STEM education. 

Reconceptualizing STEM Education

by Richard A. Duschl and Amber S. Bismack

Price at time of review: $56.95
350 pp.
Routledge Taylor & Francis Group
New York, NY
ISBN: 9781138901049

Grade Level: K-16

Reviewed by Jean Worsley
Retired Biology Teacher

This book in the Teaching and Learning in Science series is a compendium of the Waterbury Summit held at Pennsylvania State University in 2013. The participants explored present practices associated with the teaching and learning of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines and proposed profound changes. The reformed practices proposed are based on current research and will be aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Research Council’s A Framework for K–12 Science Education. The agenda of the Framework and NGSS is coordinated around Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas. This suggested reformed agenda will have far–reaching implications for redesigning the curriculum, instruction, assessment, technology integration, teacher education, postsecondary education, graduate education, and other facets of our society.

The participants focused on five themes to reconceptualize STEM education. Nationally renowned scholars presented papers on these themes: Systems Thinking, Model–Based Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Equity, Epistemic Outcomes, and Stem Communication and Outreach. For each theme, readers will find detailed narratives with charts and graphs vividly elucidating practices and how they could be implemented. Also, Poster Presentations are found in the first four themes. Following each presentation, a thorough analysis was given by two respondents and panelists answered questions posed by the audience. With current research data, the participants explored numerous facets/theories of the educational system in the teaching/learning process and references are listed for each theme. Further, the role of ethics in scientific decisions was brought to the forefront.

It is noted that emphasis was placed on the importance of helping educators learn how to engage all students in STEM disciplines. In addition, readers will find an interesting narrative on integrating the ARTS in STEM changing it to STEAM. As a result of this Summit, a clarion call resonates across the educational system to reform teaching pedagogies in STEM disciplines. Current data indicate that this is due to the fact that STEM based industries will be growing in the United States and that the number of students pursuing careers in STEM areas is decreasing. In order to close this gap, the participants proposed a paradigm shift by focusing on practices outlined in this book, Reconceptualizing STEM Education. This is indeed paramount because scientific literacy is needed in order to make wise decisions—educationally, economically, ethically, socially, politically, and environmentally. Consequently, this holistic approach to STEM education will foster an understanding of the nature of science and scientific inquiry.

It is noteworthy to understand that the participants emphasized that many challenges remain and that more critical research is vital. Some of these unanswered questions are listed in the summary. Readers will find a brief biography about the authors and participants. An index, numerous references, and a website are also included. This is an excellent resource for educators who are interested in preparing students to make decisions to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Reform in STEM education is needed in order to maintain a workforce in this global economy.

Petrosino, A. J. (2016). Teachers Use of Data, Measurement, and Data Modeling in Quantitative Reasoning. In R. Duschl & A. Bismarck (Eds), Reconceptualizing STEM Education: The Central Role of Practices (pp.167-180). New York: Taylor & Francis/Routledge.