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Abstract

This study addressed the question, “What factors do experts perceive as impacting STEM achievement of students in rural schools with predominantly Indigenous students?” A thematic analysis of interviews with 40 educators with a depth of experience identified six major themes: holistic STEM education, inclusion of local culture in STEM education, highly qualified staff, STEM curriculum and instruction, technology, and STEM funding. These themes were interrelated. Holistic education demanded more individualized curriculum and required more highly qualified staff who could adapt the curriculum and integrate technology with traditional knowledge, but these educators were harder to hire and retain due to low funding. It is emphasized that efforts to raise STEM achievement of Indigenous students attending rural schools should be embedded within consideration of the larger system, including the academic, emotional, and cultural experiences of students and financial, technological and human resources available.

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