Date of Graduation

8-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Michael K. Daugherty

Committee Member

Betsy Orr

Second Committee Member

Cathy Wissehr

Keywords

Education; Curricula; Curriculum; K-12; STEM education; Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); Teacher education; Technology education

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to obtain consensus concerning the defining characteristics of integrated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum. This study utilized a three round modified Delphi study to solicit recommendations from experts of STEM education in order to: 1) create a set of categorical and defining curricular components needed to develop and implement appropriate integrated STEM curriculum; 2) identify the characteristics that set integrated STEM education curriculum apart from single-discipline curricula; 3) discuss the components necessary to gauge whether an initiative, project, or curriculum should be referred to as integrated STEM education; and 4) examine whether significant differences exist from the defining characteristics based on the disciplinary grounding of panelists in science, mathematics, or technology and engineering. Results indicate that it is essential that STEM education be problem- or project-based, although other considerations are essential in providing students with the most authentic learning experiences. The panel agreed that the majority of STEM curricula are not integrated, but discipline-specific curricula and that many STEM programs have a narrow educational focus that includes a collection of activities and specific products that may not be developed using sound pedagogical practices. The results from the study add to the literature on the definitive attributes of STEM education.