September 9-11, 2011
Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts
The Advancing Research on Youth Motivation in STEM Convening, hosted by the ITEST Learning Resource Center, brought together ITEST youth participants and ITEST project PIs, leading researchers, psychologists, and sociologists to develop a theoretical research framework for guiding future research on youth motivation in STEM with particular emphasis on youth from populations most underrepresented in the STEM workforce. Materials from the convening, including videos of the plenary sessions can be viewed here: Youth Motivation Convening Materials
The convening panels, presentations and working group discussions explored the following overarching questions:
1) What is currently known about motivation in STEM for underrepresented youth?
2) What can be done to cultivate new research around STEM motivation for underrepresented youth?
Additional questions, explored included:
• What motivates young people to participate in STEM learning experiences?
• What role does community, family, or cultural context play in that motivation to learn?
• What do STEM learning experiences teach young people about STEM educational and career paths?
• What specific programmatic aspects have the greatest impact on their involvement in STEM beyond ITEST?
Related topics for discussion at the convening included the assessment of program models and core elements, issues of self-identity, educational practices in formal and informal settings, and an examination of extrinsic and intrinsic motivational factors.
About the Event
The convening, which took place Friday, September 9 through Sunday, September 11, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts on the campus of Boston College, brought together multidisciplinary perspectives to the ITEST program’s present work and linked researchers exploring motivation from various theories. Attendees worked towards generating alternative frameworks and questions to set the stage for the long-term exploration of youth motivation in STEM.
In addition to the convening, the project created a collection of related research and resources, along with the publication of a series of white papers on topics designed to inform the event and interested participants. Together, the convening and related project activities are intended to:
• Generate a theoretical research framework and methodologies most appropriate for exploring youth motivation in STEM and related assessment issues
• Foster new working relationships among participants to spark new research opportunities
• Engage the ITEST community in identifying central elements of their programs that foster effective STEM motivation, career discovery, and exploration
• Map the existing data on the intensity, nature, and rigor of ITEST project impact as it relates to youth motivation in STEM.
• Inform researchers of the needs of the ITEST community as they endeavor to advance understanding of the factors that affect youth motivation in STEM