Creating access and opportunity: Preparing African-American male students for STEM trajectories PreK-12


PurposeResearch often neglects the full continuum of the STEM pipeline in terms of underserved and underrepresented populations. African American males, in particular, experience limited access, opportunity, and preparation along STEM trajectories preK-12. The purpose of this paper is to challenge this gap by presenting examples of preK-12 programs that nurture and promote STEM development and learner outcomes for underrepresented populations. Design/methodology/approachA culturally responsive, asset-based approach emphasizes the importance of leveraging out-of-school practices that shape African-American males learning experiences. From a practitioner standpoint, the need to understand the importance of developing a STEM identity as a conduit to better improve STEM outcomes for African-American males is discussed. FindingsTo respond to the full continuum of the pipeline, the authors highlight the role of families and STEM programs that support African-American male students’ STEM identity development generally with an emphasis on how particular out-of-school programs (e.g. The Children’s Museum of Memphis [CMOM], MathScience Innovation Center [MSiC]) cultivate STEM trajectories. The authors conclude with how preK-12 settings can collaborate with local museums and other agencies to create opportunities for greater access and improve the quality of African-American males’ STEM preparation. Originality/valueThe intellectual value of our work lies in the fact that few studies have focused on the importance of examining the full continuum of the STEM pipeline with a particular emphasis on STEM development in early childhood (preK-3). Similarly, few studies have examined the role of identity construction and meaning-making practices as a conduit to better STEM outcomes for African-American males prek-12.

Publication Title

Journal for Multicultural Education