Spotlights on STEM Education Research

CADRE's Spotlights explore important themes in K-12 STEM education research and development by highlighting DRK-12 project contributions, community perspectives, and important resources.

While many of the Spotlights cover cross-cutting topics, such as professional development or culturally relevant instruction, other Spotlights are focused on disciplines or subdisciplines (e.g. computer science, astronomy), STEM practices (e.g. modeling, problem solving), or project design & implementation (e.g. replication, CAREER awards).

Administrators and Teacher Leaders in STEM Education (2023)

Learn about how DRK-12 projects are engaging administrators and teacher leaders to create a culture of STEM learning, ensure all students have access to high-quality instruction, and inspire students to pursue STEM-related fields.

Artificial Intelligence in STEM Teaching & Learning (2022)

This Spotlight highlights a few of the many ways artificial intelligence can be applied to STEM classrooms and education research, from AI-based assessment to intelligent virtual companions.

Broadening Participation in STEM (2018)

This Spotlight highlights opportunities, resources, and projects that aim to increase involvement in STEM.

Coaching and Mentoring STEM Educators (2024)

This Spotlight features research on coaching and mentoring STEM educators.

Collaborative Teacher Learning (2024)

Explore how DRK-12 projects are leveraging collaborative teacher learning approaches to improve science, engineering, and mathematics instruction.

Culturally Responsive STEM Education (2022)

In this Spotlight, learn about culturally responsive PreK-12 STEM education and DRK-12 projects researching culturally responsive instruction, curricula, and assessment.

Curriculum: Practitioner Selection, Adaptation, and Design (2019)

This spotlight explores the role of educators in creating quality and coherent curricula in today's science and mathematics classrooms. Two blog posts examine the importance of curriculum coherence (one in the context of science, the other in mathematics), and four projects describe their efforts to support and empower practitioners in this area.

Early Childhood Education (2020)

In this Spotlight, explore NSF-funded projects and resources that focus on early learning opportunities.

English Language Learners (2020)

This Spotlight features DRK-12-funded projects that are researching and developing approaches to improving STEM learning for students classified as English language learners (ELLs) or English learners (ELs). 

Family Engagement to Support STEM Learning (2024)

This Spotlight highlights the ways in which DRK-12 projects are engaging families and caregivers to support STEM learning, including building parent leadership capacity and co-creating and testing home-based activities, and why this engagement has been important to their work.

Games & Simulations (2015)

In this spotlight, explore DRK-12 games and simulations designed to support science and math learning.

Inclusive Mathematics Education (2023)

Learn about DRK-12 projects that are promoting equitable and inclusive mathematics education through research on teacher education, instructional practices, learning experiences, and assessments that support success and achievement in mathematics for all students.

Informal & Formal STEM Education (2021)

This Spotlight examines connections between formal STEM education and learning supported by museums, science centers, families, communities, and other informal settings that are part of the STEM education ecosystem.

Learning Progressions and Trajectories (2024)

Read how DRK-12 projects are addressing issues of equity and supporting teachers in understanding and using learning progressions and trajectories.

Motivation & Engagement in STEM Education (2022)

This Spotlight highlights three projects that are currently researching approaches and learning environments that are designed to motivate and engage students in science, computer science, and software engineering, along with information on the larger body of research, innovations, and instrumentation in the DRK-12 portfolio and other related resources.

Online and Blended Professional Development (2017)

This Spotlight offers grantee perspectives on the current state of STEM professional development (PD) and highlights DRK-12 contributions in the area of online and blended PD.

Online Learning (2020)

This Spotlight shares online learning resources including activities, tools, and tips to support remote student learning and teacher development.

Research-Practice Partnerships (2023)

Read about partnerships between researchers and practitioners to innovate and improve STEM teaching and learning, including how they were formed, the strategies and features they leverage to support equitable work together, and how they've addressed common challenges. 

Rural STEM Education (2023)

Explore how DRK-12 projects are increasing access to resources and opportunities in rural communities that can improve student achievement and representation in STEM.

Simulations in STEM Teaching & Learning (2022)

This Spotlight features seven projects researching and developing simulations for teacher and student STEM education.

Social-Emotional Learning (2022)

Read how four DRK-12 projects are incorporating social-emotional learning (SEL) skills into their STEM education research and development and find related resources about SEL.

STEM Pathways (2019)

Examine STEM pathway and workforce development in PreK-12, including projects that are researching and innovating approaches that allow and encourage all students to pursue continued study or careers in STEM.

Story in STEM Education (2014)

In this Spotlight, listen to PIs Roy Gould and Jackie Miller discuss their work and explore the question, "Why is story such a powerful tool in the classroom?"

Supporting Students with Disabilities (2021)

This Spotlight features DRK-12 projects that are addressing approaches and developing tools to support STEM teaching and learning for students with disabilities.

Sustaining and Scaling Professional Development (2021)

Explore innovations, research, and advice around creating sustainable professional development programs or scaling interventions to broaden their impacts on STEM teaching and learning.

Systemic Reform (2023)

In this Spotlight, explore the types of partnerships, methodologies, theoretical frameworks, challenges and strategies that support work enacting reforms on a systemic level. This Spotlight includes a perspective piece by Suzanne Donovan and Alan Schoenfeld, highlights the work of seven projects, and offers additional resources for those interested in learning more.

Teacher Content Knowledge (2020)

Learn about projects developing and studying models and resources to improve and assess teachers' knowledge for teaching science, mathematics, and computer science.

Teacher Preparation Models and Programs (2018)

This Spotlight features a range of DRK-12 projects that are designing, implementing, and/or studying preservice teacher programs in STEM disciplines.

Teaching & Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic (2023)

Learn about DRK-12-funded efforts to understand the impacts of the pandemic on STEM teaching and learning as well as the early results from a synthesis of NSF-funded research on STEM education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Technology-Enhanced Assessment (2019)

Explore projects using technology to transform the assessment of student and teacher learning as well as advance the field of educational measurement.

Video-Enhanced Teacher Education (2022)

Learn about DRK-12 work to enhance teacher education using video.

Women and Girls in STEM (2022)

This spotlight features DRK-12 projects working on solutions to engage and support women in STEM fields.