Date of Award

Fall 11-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Shelly Fransen

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Don Forrest

Abstract

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education, or STEM, is an area that is currently growing in popularity with educators (Becker & Park, 2011). A qualitative study consisting of interviews was conducted and data were gathered from three leaders in professional STEM organizations, four principals from elementary STEM schools, and six teachers from elementary STEM schools to gain their perceptions of elementary STEM schools in Missouri. The perceptions of leaders in professional STEM organizations regarding STEM education were consistently all positive, and each leader was a proponent of STEM education at the elementary level. The perceptions of principals and teachers were also similar in response to interview questions. Both principals and teachers reported STEM education has the ability to increase student engagement and student achievement. The principals provided information that showed a shift in teacher attitude toward STEM from hesitant to giving full support. The teachers offered answers to the interview questions that showed favor and support for continuing professional development in regards to STEM education. Results and conclusions from this study may assist schools in deciding if STEM education should be integrated within their curriculum.

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