Using key indicators from the research-based STEM Learning Opportunities Providing Equity (SLOPE) that was funded through the Investing in Innovation (i3) Program of the United States Department of Education, several members of the SLOPE Project Team developed A College and Career Equity-based STEM Strategy (ACCESS) to meet the following objectives:
  • promote and accelerate the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS);

  • increase academic rigor for all students; and,

  • encourage students to be eligible, ready, and successful in higher education.
ACCESS Project Design Elements

ACCESS is a tiered professional development experience built around a well-appointed toolkit that includes the following elements:
  • Equity, Access, and Rigor Design Tools: Using any mathematics textbook, teachers learn about four instructional design tools for implementing CCSS in their own classrooms based on the particular learning needs of their own students. Teachers gain additional skills and resources to provide instruction that makes the content accessible and engaging to students. Moreover, these tools can be used in creating tasks and assessments at higher levels of rigor and cognitive demand. These design tools are delineated on the second page.

  • Coaching, Collaboration, and Implementation Support: The Responsive Teaching Cycle process, a structured form of teacher collaboration developed by Professor Ivan Cheng at California State University, Northridge, is based on an inquiry approach that uses student work as the lens through which teachers examine instructional practice, use of effective strategies, and student understanding and mathematical thought. The goal is to makes content and delivery accessible for students in the next class session.

  • STEM College and Career Awareness Curriculum (CAC) Aligned to CCSS Math Standards: In an attempt to bridge classroom math, STEM careers, and local college preparation and employment opportunities, CAC is based on research that learning math in context increases student motivation and interest and enhances transference of skills by linking classroom and real-world mathematics. CAC emphasizes applying STEM content to college readiness and student career interests in order to focus on student-centered teaching, advanced skill application, and higher order thought. Research indicates that this “real-world” focus increases academic attainment of students who are under-performing academically or who are marginalized in classrooms because of cultural differences.

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