The Case for Investing in Out-of-School Learning as a Core Strategy in Improving STEM Education

April 27, 2016

The STEM Education Coalition today publicly released “The Case for Investing in Out-of-School Learning as a Core Strategy in Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education.”  This 10-page paper written for policymakers and education leaders makes a strong case for why informal and afterschool learning must be an integral part of policies to improve STEM education across the board.

Exposure to formal and informal learning in STEM subjects, beginning at an early age and continuing through high school, prepares our nation’s students for the future ahead.  Supporting quality science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education for all children and youth is therefore vital to our country’s social and economic prosperity.

Citing the latest research on the value of informal STEM learning in cultivating student interest, expanding opportunities for higher learning, and building literacy and fluency in STEM knowledge and skills, the Coalition’s new policy document includes a range of policy recommendations to address key challenges such as integrating informal and formal learning strategies, dedicated funding for informal STEM learning,  professional development for educators, and expansion of the knowledge base.

This paper was produced by the STEM Education Coalition Policy Forum and was supported by a grant from the Noyce Foundation.

The Coalition wishes to thank the many organizational contributors to the content of this paper including the Afterschool Alliance, National Science Teachers Association, Frameworks Institute, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, FIRST, American Chemical Society, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Battelle, Association for Computing Machinery, Educational Development Center, Association of Science-Technology Centers, and STEM Next at the University of San Diego.

See the full paper here.