Perceptions of K-8 Building Administrators and Classroom Teachers on STEM Implementation within a Catholic Diocese in the Southeastern Region of the U.S. Open Access
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Contemporary research has suggested for students in the U.S. to remain globally competitive in the 21st workforce, educators must shift from teaching subjects in isolation to integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Incorporating core subjects helps students make connections through content areas while engaging in hands-on activities and real-world problems (Moore, Stohlmann, Wang, Tank, Glancy, & Roehrig, 2014). STEM proficient students apply the rigor of the subjects to answer complex problems, investigate global issues, and develop new solutions. The purpose of this quantitative, nonexperimental study was to examine the perceptions of K-8 building administrators and classroom teachers within a Catholic diocese in the Southeastern region of the U.S. regarding the integration of STEM. Through STEM implementation, classrooms and schools across the diocese will be able to provide today’s students with the skills and abilities necessary to compete with other 21st century learners across the globe. The potential impact of perceptions and understanding of STEM programming can influence program implementation and guide future instructional teaching practices. This study used an online survey administered through SurveyMonkey via email to all K-8 teachers and administrators within the diocese. The response rate for the survey was 40.9%. Percentages of response rates were displayed to describe the data that used a rating scale. The study produced rich data that helped answer three research questions. Findings revealed STEM is both a topic and a need within the diocese. A majority of respondents stated they are not currently receiving appropriate training or needed resources for STEM to occur in their schools. Additionally, most STEM opportunities are occurring after school hours or in isolated events. A clear vision and definition of STEM implementation is needed. Such findings indicate there is a need to further research the perceptions of STEM implementation within this diocese.