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Connecticut 2010 Grant Abstract



PR Award Number:


Project Title:

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education for the 21st Century (STEM21)

Project Director:

Jonathan Costa
860-567-0863, ext. 115

Amount of Award:


Length of Award:

5 years

Absolute Priority:

AP3: High Standards and High-Quality Assessments

List of Partners (with states for each):

School Districts
Drury High School (MA
Bethel High School (CT)
Brookfield High School (CT)
Crosby High School (CT)
East Haven High School (CT)
Hill Regional High School (CT)
Kennedy High School (CT)
Manchester High School (CT)
New Britain High School (CT)
Wilber Cross High School (CT)
Metropolitan Business Academy (CT)
Housatonic Valley Region #1 High School (CT)

Education Development Center (MA)
College of Technology (CT)
Office of Workforce Competitiveness (CT)
Southern Connecticut State University Center for Excellence
in Math & Science (CT)

Project Websites:,,,

Description of Project:

EDUCATION CONNECTION’s Center for 21st Century Skills, in collaboration with a regional consortium of high-needs school districts and various partners, including the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and private industry, is implementing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education for the 21st Century (STEM21). This program develops, implements and evaluates a rigorous grade 9-12 STEM Academy model to increase high-needs student STEM interest and achievement. To foster STEM21 participation, middle school students are engaged in STEM preparatory programs.

Promising evidence of model efficacy to date includes curriculum testing in diverse settings (1,200 students; more than 40 percent of whom are minorities); sustained collaboration among students, educators and STEM professionals; statistically significant increases in student STEM content knowledge/career interest; and CSDE endorsement of the science sequence as a model for 21st-century high school redesign. Courses will be developed collaboratively by teams of teachers, college faculty and STEM industry leaders; will integrate 21st-century standards; and will be delivered in a blended learning environment, engaging students in a progression of interactive online coursework guided by teachers in classrooms and augmented by experiential learning. Intensive professional development will be provided to advance teacher content knowledge and instructional skills. Formative, interim and summative assessments will be fully integrated.

National and state assessments indicate that most Connecticut high school graduates are unprepared for college and STEM careers. Achievement gaps between poor and non-poor and minority and nonminority students are most acute at the high school level, where non-poor white students score higher across all subject areas. STEM21 seeks to close these gaps by implementing a progressive, 4-year science, mathematics and technology course sequence. The guiding hypothesis is this: If students fully participate in the STEM21 Academy, then they will demonstrate improved academic achievement, interest in, and readiness for college-level STEM coursework.

Expected outcomes include the full development, high-fidelity implementation and evaluation of the 4-year STEM21 Academy model in 12 high schools, impacting more than 960 students (more than 50 percent of whom are classified as high-needs students). Middle school programs will reach an additional 1,000 students. Future model replication in the 168 high schools across the state (176,534 students) can be accomplished. The project is a cost effective and scalable response to a critical national need to close achievement gaps and to advance every student’s capacity to innovate and succeed in college and in the global workforce.

Description of Evaluation:

The program evaluation will incorporate a quasi-experimental longitudinal treatment-comparison group design and formative, interim and summative assessments, guided by two research questions: (1) Do high school students participating in the STEM21 Academy demonstrate a greater interest and college career readiness in STEM areas than comparable students who do not? (2) Do middle school students participating in STEM21 preparatory programs elect to participate in STEM21 at a significantly higher rate than a comparison group of nonparticipating students? (Question 1: initial cohort, 140 intervention and 140 comparison students; second cohort, 100 intervention and 100 comparison students. Question 2: 300 intervention and 300 comparison students.)

Project Evaluator:

Mhora Lorentson



Project Evaluator:

Dr. Sousan Arafeh


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Last Modified: 03/22/2011