Loh Su Ling

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education is highlighted as one of the learning approaches in the new Secondary School Standard Curriculum (Kurikulum Standard Sekolah Menengah, KSSM) in Malaysia. Many efforts are carried out in promoting awareness and interest in STEM education in Malaysia’s primary and secondary schools by various sectors. However, not many studies are done to evaluate the context of STEM education implementation. Needs assessment is one major part of context evaluation that identifies the gaps between the current and the desired situations. This paper presents a qualitative case study of context evaluation of STEM education at the lower secondary school level. It is hoped that the STEM education needs assessment will guide the choice of interventions and justify any decisions that will be made. Three schools were selected through purposive sampling to reveal some important shared patterns. Open-ended interviews were conducted among lower secondary science, mathematics, basic computer science and design technology subject teachers. Data were also collected through the analysis of the individual STEM subjects’ curriculum standards and yearly teaching plans. The yearly teaching plans were consolidated and translated into a planned curriculum map to identify gaps and possibilities of integration. The findings revealed the need for STEM subjects integration and more emphasis on contextual problem solving. Teachers also described the students’ interests, the competencies in STEM education as well as the 21st century learning skills. Several recommendations are given to address the needs that may lead to improvement and accomplishment of the intended results of STEM education.