Collaborative Approach Produces Soaring Assessment Scores

There is something special going on in McAllen Independent School District. In one year, there was a tripling of “time on task” in the MISD Sci-Tech science labs. That same year, the students’ Living with STEM assessment scores increased in 17 of the district’s 19 schools where the program is used, with 4 schools achieving a 10% or better improvement.

“We are becoming more targeted in helping all student groups,” says the Elementary Science Coordinator for McAllen ISD. “We are getting improved results from the first year of implementation and are waiting for more in the future.” This, it seems, is part of what drives the McAllen program – their forward-looking approach, always seeking to improve student learning outcomes, and a willingness to be ever-changing if it is in the best interest of the students.

LJ Create’s Living with STEM program, which meets 100% of the state’s science standards (known by the acronym TEKS) and is adopted in Texas, is being used in the McAllen Sci-Tech labs to teach standards-based science, technology, math, engineering, and English language skills. The funding for the computers and the LJ Create learning resources come from Title I (federal) monies. Title I also allows the district to hire Sci-Tech paraprofessionals to assist teachers.

Dr. James May, Faculty Fellow for Innovation and Technology, and Professor of English as a Second Language for Academic Purposes at Valencia College points out, “It should be of little surprise that children who have grown up in a world where information and entertainment are on demand prefer visual stimulation in flexible but structured learning environments that have collaborative, experiential and authentic activities, and that embrace applied technologies.”


1 May, James S., Ed.D. “Empowering 21st Century Learners in STEM: An Impetus for Change.” 2015.


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