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Report: STEM Expeditions® boost science scores

Friday Institute report cites MAP scores 20 percent higher than those of control group

Published January 5, 2018

PITTSBURG, KS (January 5, 2018) – Pitsco Education's STEM Expeditions® program helped students achieve statistically significant results on national science tests, according to a December 2017 report from the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University's College of Education. 

(Printable PDF)

Sixth- and seventh-grade STEM Expeditions students at Tucker Creek Middle School in Havelock, NC, scored 20.1 percent higher on the 2016-17 Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) science test than did members of a control group at a nearby middle school.

Eighth graders at Pittsburg (KS) Community Middle School (PCMS) who completed the Expeditions as part of a blended science program showed a statistically significant difference in growth in MAP science and reading than did the virtual comparison group.

According to the Friday Institute's executive summary in the report, "Students in these analysis clusters tended to show more academic growth in science when compared to their peers in a comparison group or when compared to the national median."

    Tucker Creek STEM Expeditions teacher Michelle Smith was not surprised at her students' stellar performance. "I think the results are directly related to the amount of student engagement with the content. Students know from the beginning of the Expeditions that they will be using the scientific principles they are taught to solve the lesson Essential Question, which is an engineering design challenge. Because they know that the information will be immediately valuable to them in designing their solution, they pay more attention and get more involved from the very start."

    PCMS STEM Expeditions teacher Caleb Boulware said his students far exceeded a goal of 100 percent growth on MAP performance with an average growth rate of 178 percent for all the school's eighth graders in 2016-17. "What shocked me was a lot of times when I used to give a test to the kids they'd pass it, but if you gave it two weeks later they forgot it. With the Expeditions, the way they're doing things hands on, the fact of doing it, building, it, designing something from start to finish, seeing it get done, and then interpreting it and pulling it into everyday life, that's how to make it relevant. . . . I could give them a posttest and go into another Expedition and come back a month later and give the same posttest, and they would still know it."

    STEM Expeditions are standards based and may be delivered as a single topic to a whole class or as several topics simultaneously to student pairs working through rotations. The 37 Expeditions feature a wide range of topics from robots and rockets to food safety and flight to engineering and electricity.

    The engineering design process (ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve) is built into all STEM Expeditions, which were developed around NGSS, ITEEA, and national math and ELA standards.

    Contact a Pitsco Education representative who can address your specific needs for STEM curriculum and materials: 800-828-5787 or support@pitsco.com. Or, learn about STEM Expeditions at www.pitsco.com/STEMExpeditions.




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