STEM learning outcomes demonstrate students’ STEM literacy necessary for the next level of STEM learning and for post- secondary and workforce readiness.
When the STEAM initiative began in the fall of 2015, a report was generated to ascertain the existing success. At the end of 2015, a STEAM Executive Report identified goals and timelines for the various STEM-related aspects of Rockhurst High School. In addition, Rockhurst partnered with Research for Better Teaching, an educational and consulting firm to help the entire school, from the administration on down, make sure that our curriculum was reflecting the learning outcomes desired.
A huge part of part of this was making sure written curriculum reflected the STEM ideals the school wanted to infuse. After spending parts of two years with this program the school initiated a program where all classes in the school would have a written curriculum with specific content, assessments, and identified learning outcomes that made sure our students were “literate” for 21st century learning.
Rockhurst High School prides itself in STEM learning outcomes demonstrated by student AP Scores as described in the school profile. All students are required to take four full years of mathematics and about half the senior class takes the AP Calculus Exam each year. Starting in 2016, the mathematics department began offering AP Statistics, which will support more STEM literacy needs. All students are also required to take three years of science although many of them take four.
Beginning in 2016, the computer science curriculum was completely rebooted. Starting with the class of 2020, every student is required to take Introduction to Computer Science. This graduation requirement introduces every student to coding and each student demonstrates their learning by coding an animated character that lives within a digital ecosystem created by the class. Furthermore, both AP Computer Science A an AP Computer Science Principles are now being taught to a variety of students.
Log books and lab books are an essential part of every science course. The robotics course requires students to log all the work they did on their robot each day. Next year, the Fundamentals of Science Research course will feature students presenting their research at an annual Rockhurst research symposium. This presentation will include the students science logbook and a written scientific research paper.
Outside of core curricular learning outcomes. Students are voluntarily posting STEM reflections on the STEAM Blog. Students articulated STEM literacy at the ISTE conference during the summer of 2016 and they are also demonstrating STEM literacy through various STEM related competitions.
In order to self-assess whether or not Rockhurst is meeting this goal, educators attend STEM Conferences such as the AdvancED STEM Summit. These professional development opportunities help the school to continue to hone the way students are ensured STEM literacy.
A growing trend in education right now involves submerging students into an authentic, real-world challenge and seeing what they can do.
Rockhurst High School offers four Computer Science courses for the 2016-17 academic year.