STEMworks is a searchable online honor roll of high-quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs. STEMworks helps companies, states, and individuals make smart investments in their communities by evaluating and cataloging programs that meet rigorous and results-driven design principles (PDF). In November of 2017, STEMworks was acquired by WestEd, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research, development, and service agency that partners with education and other communities throughout the United States and abroad to promote excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults.
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STEMworks is working with state education leaders to bring the most effective STEM education programs to hundreds of thousands more students every year. State leaders across the country are working with us to identify and fund programs that meet rigorous standards for admission to STEMworks, our honor roll of STEM education programs.
As states reassert their authority over education, it is more important than ever to spend state education dollars wisely. Thousands of STEM education programs have emerged over the past decade, and many have impressive marketing materials. State STEMworks partnerships allow state leaders to identify the programs that are most likely to yield the best return on public investments in STEM education.
STEMworks began with two state partners in 2014—Arizona and Iowa—and has since added several more—Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, and West Virginia. Together, these states have identified dozens of effective programs and supported them with millions in state dollars.
STEMworks provides each state partner with access to the tailored online platform, training, and technical assistance it needs to run its own STEMworks initiative. Programs can apply to STEMworks through the portal and expert reviewers rigorously rate them against our Design Principles for effectiveness.
Each state partner can create additional questions that meet its specific priorities. For example, a state can customize its initiative with its own principles on subjects as diverse as professional development, curriculum, or computer science education. Each state can also require applicants to prove that they are ready to hit the ground running in that state.
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STEMworks has identified four programs that are ready to scale widely nationwide:
Girlstart Summer Camp, a week-long STEM experience for girls in the 3rd through 10th grades that increases girls’ mastery in STEM subjects by introducing them to fun, real-world STEM activities. Girls who participate become much more interested in STEM and confident in their own ability to pursue STEM.
Project Lead The Way, which offers hands-on, project-based STEM programs for elementary, middle, and high schools. PLTW has been proven to boost student academic growth in the STEM disciplines as well as critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
ST Math, a program that uses instructional software to teach math concepts visually through computer games, while developing critical problem-solving and reasoning skills essential for tomorrow’s workforce. Developed by university neuroscientists, ST Math has been shown to double students’ growth rate in math scores.
Ten80 Student Racing Challenge, a project-based learning program that challenges middle and high school students in and out of schools to optimize the performance of 1:10 scale radio controlled cars. Students mirror professional motorsports teams, specializing in projects from creative engineering and green transportation to business and graphic design. Ten80 has been shown to boost student test scores and spark their interest in math and science.
Nineteen programs from the STEMworks database of effective STEM programs applied for this distinction. These programs were rated against the rigorous Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy and then against additional criteria for their readiness to scale.
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