21st Century Skills

Successful STEM program completion exhibits students’ readiness for continued education and workforce competition

Preparation for the Next Level

Teachers use rubrics to collect qualitative data on the students’ content knowledge, skills, and competency. Traditionally, rubrics provide for both graded assessments and written assessments to demonstrate student mastery of a subject area. At VWCS, the STEM Project Rubric and the STEM Growth Rubric are the two principal rubrics used for STEM assessment.

The STEM Project Rubric is generally used toward the end of each unit as students complete their STEM summative assessments. The assessments are used to grade the students’ suggested plan to solve a real-world problem. The unit project includes community outreach, career focus, and 21st-century skills. The community outreach can involve solving problems in the classroom, in the school, in the local community, and, at times, within the global community. The career focus for the unit depends on the real-world problem the students seek to solve. Students or teachers will choose a career focus, and students will complete a pre- and post-assessment on that specific career to measure the students’ knowledge at the beginning and again at the end of the unit. Teachers invite a career expert to physically or virtually visit the classroom at least once per unit. Interacting with career professionals lets students share their work with a professional, receive constructive feedback, and learn more about STEM career opportunities. These practices help students build confidence in STEM academics as they develop the tools to transition to the next level in their STEM education.

Sources of Quantitative Data

  1. A standardized test is provided once every academic year.
  2. We collect scores from various online assessments several times a week and monthly reading and math assessments to gauge student mastery of a STEM topic.
  3. During monthly data talks, we analyze assessment data from each source to create longitudinal data.

VWCS uses the quantitative data to monitor student STEM literacy. We expect this collection of information will play an important role in positioning our students for continued success in STEM learning. The highly-valued skills will serve them as they matriculate through middle school and high school, and eventually as members of the 21st century workforce.

Our teachers also analyze data to identify areas of potential growth that our students may want and need to ensure their future success. Using this data is rapidly becoming an integral part of our curriculum and instruction as our teachers continue to differentiate student learning. It also positions us to better track the impact our STEM program has on our elementary students when we open our own high school in the coming years.

Standardized Test Results in STEM Disciplines
3rd – 5th Grade 2015-2017

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