An international collaboration to enhance learning for all youth.
UK Project Director: Professor Louise Archer
Youth Equity + STEM is a four-year Science Learning+ Partnership project (2017-2021) funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Wellcome, and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
YESTEM addresses fundamental equity issues in informal Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning.
Access to, and opportunities within, Informal STEM Learning (ISL) remain limited for youth from historically under-represented backgrounds in both the United Kingdom and the United States. This project brings together researchers and practitioners to focus on the experiences, practices and tools that will support equitable youth pathways into STEM.
The major goal of this partnership is getting practitioners and researchers - through working with youth through design-based implementation research, survey and critical ethnography - to develop new understandings of how and under what conditions they participate in ISL over time and across settings, and how they may connect these experiences towards pathways into STEM.
- Research agenda
The YESTEM project responds to three challenges at the intersections of ISL research and practice in the United Kingdom and United States:
- lack of shared understanding of how youth from historically underrepresented backgrounds perceive and experience ISL opportunities across national contexts, and the practices and tools needed to support empowered movement through ISL
- limited shared understanding and evidence of core high-leverage practices that support such youth in progressing within and across ISL
- limited understanding of how ISL might be equitable and transformative for such youth seeking to develop their own pathways into and through STEM.
Working across conceptual frameworks and ISL settings (e.g. science centres, community groups, zoos) and universities in four urban contexts in two different nations, the partnership will produce a coherent knowledge base that strengthens and expands research and practice partnerships, builds capacity towards transformative research and development, and develops new models and tools in support of equitable pathways into STEM at a global level.
The project will result in
- new understandings of ISL pathways that are equitable and transformative for youth from historically underrepresented backgrounds
- a set of high leverage practices and tools that support equitable and transformative informal science learning pathways (and the agency youth need to make their way through them)
- a strengthened and increased professional capacity to broaden participation among youth from historically underrepresented backgrounds in STEM through informal science learning.
- UK team
The project builds on a previous funded partnership and will be carried out by research and practice partnerships in four cities: London & Bristol, UK and Lansing, Michigan & Portland, Oregon, US, involving university researchers from University College London, Michigan State University, Oregon State University / Institute for Learning Innovation, and practitioners in informal STEM learning settings, such as science centres, zoo and community-based organisations.
- University of Michigan - US PI, Professor Angela Calabrese Barton
- Institute for Learning Innovation/Oregon State University - CI, Professor Lynn Dierking
UK ISL Partners
US ISL Partners
Research papers linked to Youth Equity + STEM
- Archer, L., Godec, S., Calabrese Barton, A., Dawson, E., Mau, A., Patel, U. (2020). Changing the field: A Bourdieusian analysis of educational practices that support equitable outcomes among minoritized youth on two informal science learning programmes. Science Education (In press).
- Godec, S., Patel, U., Archer, L., Dawson, E. (2020). Young people's tech identity performances: why materiality matters. International Journal of STEM Education, 7 (51).
Research briefs from an earlier planning phase, Youth Access & Equity in ISL: Developing a Research and Practice Agenda (2015-2016)
- Equity in informal science learning: a research and practice brief (PDF, 2.2MB) - this briefing document summarises the discussions, data and findings relating to equity and access work in informal science contexts that were conducted as part of phase one project funding.
- Pathways in informal science learning: a research and practice brief (PDF, 2.4MB) - this briefing document summarises the discussions, data and findings relating to pathways within and across informal science contexts, in particular relating to youth and equity that were conducted as part of phase one project funding.
- Infographic: Youth equity pathways in informal science learning (PDF, 3.2MB) - the key figures and findings from the project are presented in this infographic, including data from the survey and workshops that were conducted as part of phase one project funding.
- Research and practice agenda (PDF, 2.6MB) - we set out the key questions and themes for future equity and access work in this agenda, as identified through project research and activities that were conducted as part of phase one project funding.
- Resources and tools
The Equity Compass
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Research and practice tools for guiding equitable and transformative pedagogies in Informal Science Learning.
- The Equity Compass: A tool for supporting socially just practice (pdf)
The Equity Compass helps users to adopt a social justice mindset when developing and reflecting on their policy and/or practice. It prompts users to consider multiple dimensions of equity, as represented by the eight segments of the compass.
More YESTEM Insights to follow. To keep up-to-date with more resources from our project, please join our mailing list.