13 viewpoints on STEM identity

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September 24th, 2018

Do the exhibits, programs, and other activities you develop, implement, or evaluate have science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) identity as a learning goal or desired outcome? If so, are you taking into account the concept of identity in its full complexity? The Evaluation and Measurement Task Force of the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) has been investigating STEM identity, interest, and engagement through the lens of those who design research, experiences, and settings for learners and publics of all ages. These powerful constructs intersect with others in ways that have implications for STEM learning, workforce development, and literacy. 

Now Live: “What Is STEM Identity?”

Head to www.informalscience.org/identity to watch excerpts from video interviews with 13 leading thinkers on identity, as well as transcripts of their full interviews with links to the project examples and related scholarship that they shared. An overview summarizes what the CAISE team has been learning about the fluidity, measurability, and intersectionality of identity with other social, cognitive, and affective factors. You can also search InformalScience.org for examples of projectsevaluation reports,and research papers related to STEM identity. 

How Might You Use this Material? 

During a formative evaluation, CAISE heard that this set of resources can be used as a “Cliff’s Notes” to navigate a range of perspectives on STEM identity from social psychologists, learning researchers, and program designers. We also heard from project developers for whom a more nuanced understanding of identity helps in designing environments, activities, and, importantly, funding proposals that credibly reference and address identity.  

What’s Next

The CAISE Evaluation and Measurement task force is currently in the process of developing parallel pages on STEM interest and engagement, all of which will be formally launched in time for the National Science Foundation Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program Principal Investigator meeting, February 11–13, 2019, in Alexandria, Virginia. The task force will also be exploring other types of supports that the field might need related to evaluation and measurement, with several great ideas surfaced at its recent convening (summary coming soon!)

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