Precision in STEM Education: A Guide to Quality Assurance Terminology
In the ever-evolving terrain of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, precision is paramount. Not only in the methods employed, calculations derived, or technologies produced but also in the terminology we use to understand and define the very structure of this international movement. In the cascade of STEM advancements, one area that requires immediate clarification is the framework of credentialing. At the vanguard of this necessity is STEM.org Educational Research, emphasizing that proper classification is more than mere pedantry — it’s pivotal to quality assurance in STEM education.
STEM Education’s Lost Decade And Tenor
Contemporary Insights Into A Popular, Global Movement
Certified Educators, Accredited Programs
At the core of this debate lies a fundamental distinction between ‘certification’ and ‘accreditation.’ A distinction that, if overlooked, can sow seeds of confusion and misunderstanding. Teachers, who undergo rigorous training, assessments, and continuous professional development to equip the next generation with STEM skills, earn the title “STEM certified.” This certification is a testament to their capability, commitment, and expertise. It’s an accolade of their dedication to educating.
In contrast, the institutions and programs where these educators ply their craft and where students engage with STEM subjects undergo a different kind of evaluation. They earn the label “STEM accredited.” Accreditation is a rigorous process that schools and programs undergo to ensure they meet or exceed established quality standards in STEM education.
Yet, the conflation of these two terminologies — using ‘certified’ interchangeably for both educators and programs — creates a mire of confusion. One that does disservice to both educators and the institutions dedicated to STEM excellence.