Linking After-School Programs and STEM Learning: Proceed with Caution

Authors: Nicole Yohalem, Forum for Youth Investment and Andrew Shouse, National Research Council

Can after-school programs help young people become scientific thinkers? Yes. Is that the critical question? No. We need to grapple with more nuanced questions. At the program level, under what circumstances can after-school programs contribute to STEM learning? In what ways are after-school programs most able to contribute and toward what specific outcomes? At the broader field level, how can the best of what these programs have to offer be preserved and sustained while taking the logical step of exploring how after-school can play a role in addressing STEM literacy?