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Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

Assumptions and Key for the MA STE Strand Maps


Strand = subject or discipline
Topic = Major subcategory (a colored set of standards)
Standard = Numbered phrase in the MA STE Framework
Concept = a conceptual unit of understanding (may be a whole or partial standard)
Link = the arrows connecting standards and/or concepts

First assumption:

Linking arrows = connections that are necessary for learning, not possible connections between concepts. An arrow leaving a standard implies that the concept is fundamental to learning the concept of the next/connected standard. That next standard would be difficult to learn without the knowing the previous/connected standard(s). Many more connections are possible between standards, as would be identified for curriculum development or in true concept maps, but the point here is to show how ideas and understanding develop over time; what a student needs to know to learn any particular standard. (Please note, there is not necessarily a research base for any particular linking arrow, so the word "necessary" is not accurate. AAAS uses the following language to define a link: "one contributes to learning the other." Much work has been done by AAAS to synthesize research to build the Atlas strand maps, which are the model for these strand maps.)

Second assumption:

The goal is to represent the current standards AS IS (the 2001/2006 version). Standards are always kept within the grade span and strand in which they currently are found in the Framework. Some standards have been moved between topics, however. Coloring designates the original topic (where the standard currently resides in the Framework). The Department is currently reviewing the MA STE Framework and will produce updated strand maps with the revised standards.

A few logistical considerations:

Some standards have been split into parts, designated as "a, b, c" and so on. Again, these are always kept within the same strand and grade span. Standards were split for the following general reasons:

  • They included multiple concepts or skills that stand on their own (usually allowing for a sense of progression between the concepts).
  • Links that needed to be made to or from a standard actually only applied to a portion of the standard (one concept).

Dashed arrows are connections made to concepts/standards in other strands, or rarely to an AAAS benchmark. The inclusion of an AAAS benchmark is only done when it would not be possible to connect two standards without including the AAAS benchmark.

An STE strand map key demonstrating how standards are connected within a strand map. It connects standards from other strand maps with dashed arrows, standards within the strand map with solid arrows, standards and AAAS benchmarks with variably dashed arrows, and standards in/from one map to standards in another map with grey dashed arrows.

Last Updated: July 16, 2009
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