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Mehmet Aydeniz

The State of STEM Education and Future Directions in STEM Education for Turkey: An Economical Perspective

Dr. Mehmet Aydeniz was featured on the highest circulated newspaper Hurriyet and several other media outlets in Turkey for his technical report, “The State of STEM education and Future Directions in STEM Education for Turkey: An Economical Perspective” dated November 21, 2017. The news highlighted the 10 major reform recommendations suggested by Dr. Aydeniz.

The report first takes a critical perspective on global economic developments by highlighting recent trends in several sectors, ranging from Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, cybersecurity, to green technologies. The report further discusses the importance of equipping the next generation of citizens with such skills as problem solving, design thinking, leadership, creativity and entrepreneurship demanded by these emerging economy and for solving grand challenges of global society such as clean energy, environmental pollution, biodiversity, poverty and human health.

After providing an extensive review of current trends in 21st century economy through economic and labor indicators, Dr. Aydeniz problematizes the state of Turkish STEM education by analyzing performance of Turkish students on the international and national exams such as Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) and YGS (a university entrance selection exam in Turkey). He further explores and discusses the causes of Turkish students’ under performance in STEM on the national and international performance tests. Most notable he finds that students’ reading skills, quality of instruction, access to early childhood education and access to resources after school play important role in Turkish students’ under performance on the national and international science and mathematics tests.

In the final chapter of the report,  Dr. Aydeniz makes recommendations ranging from reforming STEM curriculum, investing in teacher quality, providing differentiated and enriched instruction to the gifted students and addressing the achievement gap between different student groups.  The 140-page report was forwarded by Nobel Laureate Professor Aziz Sancar of UNC Chapel Hill.

Dr. Aydeniz is an associate professor of Science Education in Theory and Practice in Teacher Education in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.