ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

Quick Definition

The subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are on the forefront of educational priorities. They are grouped together in the education community not only because they are interconnected, but because they are viewed as essential to the continued improvement of the American economy and society.  A main focus of education leaders is improving student achievement in STEM courses at all grade levels, with the goal of having more college graduates in STEM fields prepared for the job markets of the future. Many believe that America’s economic dominance over the last century was due to its leadership in scientific innovation. In order to maintain that position into the 21st century, the U.S. must continue to focus and promote STEM education in our schools. [1]


[1]  Chow, Christina M.  “Learning From Our Global Competitors:  A Comparative Analysis of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Pipelines in the United States, Mainland China, and Taiwan.”   August 2011.

Relevancy to Georgia

STEM’s Overall Importance

STEM jobs are growing faster than jobs as a whole, 17 percent compared to 10 percent. [1] Employers are looking for workers with STEM skills and these workers will be able to earn a higher salary because of this demand. In fact, according to Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, people with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM subject on average will earn $500,000 more in a lifetime than people with a bachelor’s degree in a non-STEM subject.[2] Figure 1 shows the advantage that STEM skills provide to earnings.

 

By 2018, STEM jobs in Georgia will represent 4 percent of all jobs in the state, or close to 200,000 jobs.[3] This would be an increase of 17 percent since 2008. Figure 2 illustrates how critical it is for Georgia to prepare students for STEM subjects at the collegiate level. Ninety percent of these jobs will require some form of post-secondary education.

 

These jobs will be filled by someone. The goal of the educational system is for Georgia jobs to be filled by Georgians. There are only a few short years for this generation of workers to be ready for these job responsibilities. One indicator that may predict the preparedness of Georgia’s students to fill STEM jobs is student performance on statewide tests.

STEM Student Achievement in Georgia

Georgia’s goal is to be a high achieving state where many students thrive in science, technology, engineering, and math. To reach this goal, the past and present must be well understood. Test scores are a main mechanism to understand where our students are in regards to STEM knowledge. Georgia’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) are statewide tests administered to 3rd-8th graders in the following subjects:  reading, English/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.  The following graphs illustrate how Georgia 4th and 8th graders have performed on the math and science tests over the past five years.[4] 

As shown in figures 3 and 4, Georgia’s 4th graders have steadily improved on the math and science tests since 2008.  In fact, there has been an increase in the percentage of students exceeding expectations by about 15 percent and 10 percent for math and science, respectively over the past four years. Conversely, on both tests, in 2012 approximately 20 percent of students did not meet expectations. As the graphs show, this number has fallen for the math portion since 2008 but has remained fairly steady in science since 2009.

 

Improvement among 8th graders is not as good as it is among 4th graders.  Figure 5 shows somewhat positive math trends for Georgia 8th graders, with the percentage of students exceeding expectations increasing ten percentage points since 2008. The discouraging statistic is the 2012 results show that more students did not meet expectations than at any time in the previous four years.

Figure 6 also shows mixed results for 8th grade science. The trend line is more encouraging than 8th grade math, showing a ten percentage point increase in the number of students exceeding expectations. Also, the percent of students not meeting expectations is down markedly since 2008. Unfortunately, science scores in all grades have the highest percentage of students not meeting expectations.

 

 

Georgia’s Concentrated Efforts

College and Career Readiness

Georgia is making it a top priority to raise student interest and create opportunities to learn more about STEM topics and careers. The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) has taken multiple steps aimed at increasing the rigor and standards around STEM education, career readiness, and teacher preparation.

A fundamental step necessary to transform Georgia into a state where students thrive in the STEM fields was the adoption of the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS). These standards are evidence based, and were “informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world.”[5]

Supporters believe this model provides uniformity across the states so that students will be expected to meet the same benchmarks regardless of hometown. Comparisons of student achievement will then be more accurate, but more importantly, parents and students will know what they should be learning at each grade level. The content is rigorous and aims to prepare students for college and the workforce.[6] For instance, the mathematics curriculum encourages students to “reason mathematically… and to make connections among mathematical topics and to other disciplines.[7] With a new curriculum prepared to better challenge students in all subjects including STEM, Georgia is taking on other projects to further STEM knowledge.

Along with the increased standards, Georgia has expanded accountability as well.  The state has incorporated STEM metrics in the new College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI).  As part of the state’s waiver to No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the state no longer uses the measures of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for school and district accountability.  AYP has been replaced by the CCRPI.  This new measure offers a more comprehensive assessment of whether schools are producing students who are ultimately college and career ready upon graduation.  For high schools, for example, the CCRPI is comprised of 17 measures of student content mastery and post-high school readiness.  As part of the index, high schools receive extra points for: 1) the percent of their students completing a physics class, or 2) if a school has earned a Georgia STEM Program Certification.   (For a more detailed discussion of the CCRPI, see the Accountability section of the Education Toolbox.) 

In addition to adding STEM to the CCRPI measures, The GaDOE is encouraging schools toincrease their focus on STEM education through multiple initiatives. One of the first steps they took was to create a webpage dedicated to STEM: stemgeorgia.org. This site provides links to teacher resource materials, STEM schools in Georgia, project lesson plans, and an events list. The main goal behind this website is to create a resource for people when trying to learn about STEM education in Georgia. The resources add to the repertoire of Georgia teachers which will lead to greater student curiosity and improvement in STEM education. 

Currently there are 24 middle and high schools that offer a specialization to students in a STEM subject. For instance, Chattooga High School has a Forensics and Robotics concentration. If these schools see positive results from these innovations, GaDOE is likely to attempt to expand these programs across the state. The state also certifies schools in STEM after they pass through a rigorous application process. One middle and one high school have been certified to date: Marietta Center for Advanced Academics and Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology. 

In 2011, Georgia mandated that all 9th graders choose a “career pathway.” Currently there are 17 career clusters to choose from, ranging from Business and Computer Science to Marketing Sales and Service. Also included is a STEM program and other STEM-related fields such as architecture, energy systems, engineering technology, manufacturing, and transportation and logistics.  The new requirement aims to stimulate student curiosity about the future careers. For instance, students who already know they enjoy designing and building structures can take courses tailored to engineering. The Engineering and Technology concentration has five different pathways: Electronics, Energy Systems, Engineering, Manufacturing, and Engineering Graphic Design.[8] 

Another project to increase interest and participation in STEM related careers is the Go Build Georgia Initiative.[9] This public/private partnership was designed to create a more educated workforce for the state and allow businesses to groom the next generation of skilled tradesman. Through outreach and social media, Go Build helps bring young people into trades such as pipefitter, electrician, boiler maker, and civil engineer. With few exceptions, the dozens of careers students can pursue do not require a bachelor’s degree. Some students may find this path preferable to accumulating student debt that many of their peers must eventually pay back. Pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships prepare young people to do the jobs that are in demand. The initiative boasts that these types of positions are in demand, with a 19 percent growth rate through 2018.[10] This project provides more information for young people to consider when they are making the decision of whether to enter the workforce directly from high school or go to a technical school or university. Go Build illuminates the choices that students have coming out of high school. These important decisions require reflection and guidance, so the state has developed career pathways to encourage students to think deeply about where their education is taking them. 

Included in the states Race to the Top application is Georgia’s Innovation Fund program. The Innovation Fund is a $19.4 million fund that provides competitive grants to support the establishment and deepening of partnerships between local school districts, charter schools, institutions of higher education (IHEs), businesses and non-profit organizations to advance the applied learning and academic achievement of Georgia’s K-12 students. 

The State intends to use the Innovation Fund to determine best practices in innovative programming related to STEM education, applied learning and teacher and leader recruitment and development to influence future education policy efforts.[11] 

Finally, Georgia is also focusing on increasing the number of teachers in STEM fields.  The UTeach program was developed 15 years ago at the University of Texas at Austin to increase the number of teachers in math and science and improve the preparation they receive. It enables undergraduate students majoring in STEM fields to earn a teaching certificate while completing the requirements of their major. Unlike most certification programs, the UTeach framework integrates pedagogical and subject area courses so students can complete their degree in four years. It also includes “scaffolded” clinical experiences, steadily increasing time and responsibility in classrooms supervised by and collaborating with master teachers. These master teachers are paired with program graduates to provide support during their first few years of teaching. Over 85 percent of UTeach graduates at the UT-Austin go into teaching, and 80 percent remain in teaching after five years in the field.[12] This success had led to the program’s replication across the country, including in Georgia. 

The Georgia Department of Education included UTeach in its Race to the Top application and awarded implementation funds through a competitive application process. Three universities—the University of West Georgia, Columbus State University and Southern Polytechnic State University—are in the first year of implementing the program.

University System of Georgia

The STEM Initiative is designed to focus attention on and improve STEM education within the University System of Georgia (USG).  In response to a USG Presidential Taskforce, the three objectives of the initiative are to increase: 1) the number of K-12 students who are prepared for and are interested in majoring in STEM disciplines in college; 2) the success and completion rates of students majoring in STEM disciplines; and 3) the number of qualified K-12 STEM teachers. The STEM Initiative is aligned with federal emphasis on STEM education[13] and the Georgia College Completion plan in an effort to improve equitable access to and completion of higher education in STEM fields. 

Funding from the STEM Initiative supports programs at 8 USG institutions.  In 2011, STEM Initiative institutions graduated 4,111 students with degrees in STEM fields. That represents 38 percent of all STEM graduates from the University System.  The Initiative has two programmatic strands:

1) support for classroom innovation to improve instruction and performance in introductory STEM courses where retention rates are critically low; and

2) support for campus-specific initiatives that address issues such as K-12 outreach, equitable access, academic advisement and interdisciplinary collaborative opportunities.

 

In 2011, 19.7 percent of all degrees and certificates conferred by the University System were in STEM fields – approximately 10,800 of the nearly 54,900 total awards conferred, ranging from certificates to doctoral degrees.  STEM degree production within the USG is concentrated.  Six institutions within the USG are responsible for 83 percent of all STEM degrees conferred.

 

Equity in access and completion remains a challenge in STEM fields in the University System.  Hispanic people make up 9.1 percent of the population of Georgia, but Hispanic students received only 2.2 percent of the STEM degrees awarded by the USG.  African-Americans make up 31 percent of the population of the state, but received only 12.7 percent of the STEM degrees.  While white students are approximately at parity with their population in the state, Asian people make up only 3.4 percent of the population, but received nearly 20 percent of all the STEM degrees.  For women in STEM fields, the disparity is ongoing.  Despite the state being 51 percent female, only 35 percent of STEM graduates in 2011 were female.

 

Upcoming Job Opportunities 

In February 2012 the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved licenses for the construction of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro. The project is led by Southern Company, and as many as 5,000 jobs may open up during the construction of the plants, with 800 permanent jobs once the reactors are operable in 2017.[14]  Many of these jobs, if not most of them, will require STEM-related training and education.

Another project that will use employees with STEM qualifications is the expansion of the Savannah Port. Plans are moving forward to deepen the port’s channel up to 48 feet from its current 42 foot depth. Public officials such as Senators Chambliss and Isakson[15], as well as Governor Deal[16] advocated that this development is of high necessity. The discussion of expansion was sparked by the expansion of the Panama Canal which will be completed in 2014. The Panama expansion will lead to larger vessels passing through the canal, and Savannah wanted to be ready to accommodate these ships. Without action, these ships will pass by Savannah and hurt the port’s business. 

Finally, Lockheed Martin Company, which specializes in aeronautics, has a graying workforce. In 2012, 27 percent of its workforce is eligible to retire.[17] Within the next five years, 40 percent of employees at the Wichita branch are eligible for retirement.[18] A branch is also located in Marietta, and the shuffling of employees over the next few years could lead to frequent hiring. These are just three examples of the expansive opportunities available to people with STEM education and training. 

As previously stated, it is critical for Georgia to prepare students for careers in STEM fields.  The skills will be in high demand as the state continues its economic expansion and development.

 

 


[1] Carnevale, A., Smith, N., & Melton, M. (2011). STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Washington, DC: Georgetown University: Center on Education and the Workforce.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] These statistics can be found at the Georgia Department of Education’s website.

[5] Common Core State Standards Initiative. www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards

[6] Ibid.

[7] Georgia Standards.

[8] GaDOE

[9] Gobuildgeorgia.com

[10] Ibid.

[11] www.doe.k12.ga.us/Race-to-the-Top/Pages/Innovation-Fund.aspx

[12] The UTeach Institute, "Replicating Success: The UTeach Institute," University of Texas at Austin, uteach-institute.org/replication.

[13] 2012 PCAST Report, Engage to Excel, www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-engage-to-excel-final_feb.pdf 

[14] Booton, Jennifer. Fox Business. Retrieved July 14, 2012.

[15] Senators Chambliss and Isakson. AJC. Retrieved July 14, 2012.

[16] Mayle, Marry Carr. Savannah Morning News. Retrieved July 14, 2012.

[17] Montgomery, Dave. University of Colorado. Retrieved July 14, 2012.

[18] Ibid.

The National Perspective

The nation as a whole has the same concerns as Georgia regarding STEM student achievement. Estimates predict that five percent of all jobs in the U.S. economy will be in STEM fields by 2018.[1] Many of these are highly specialized careers that require bachelor’s degrees or higher training, and much of the anxiety over STEM focuses on these gaps in worker readiness. Anthony Carnevale of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce noted that there is a much wider problem developing besides this somewhat small percentage of jobs. He argues that the wider economy is lacking workers with elementary STEM knowledge. With technology and innovation constantly evolving, many non-STEM occupations need workers to have at least basic STEM skills.[2] If Carnevale is correct, not only does the U.S. need to produce more STEM students, but non-STEM students need to be competent in the subject area.

One reason for the high demand for STEM workers is the fact that “diversion” occurs: “a process through which both students and workers steer away from STEM degrees and STEM careers for numerous reasons.”[3] Carnevale argues that the U.S. produces enough talent out of the K-12 system but “diversion” causes there to be a lack of workers. For instance he cites statistics that show that 38 percent of students who start in a STEM major do not graduate with one, and 43 percent of STEM graduates do not work in STEM occupations.[4]

Similar to the STEM Georgia website, a national organization called Change the Equation (CTEq) is leading the way to better STEM results. Led by a conglomeration of CEO’s, CTEq launched the Igniting Learning Initiative in 2010 which produced 130 STEM sites across the country, including three schools in Georgia.[5] These sites are incubators of STEM knowledge for both students and teachers.[6] These research-based programs aim to fuel enthusiasm and improving learning in STEM subjects. The specific programs include; “Advance Placement test preparation, strengthening elementary and middle school teachers’ understanding of critical math concepts, and combining core academic studies with hands-on coursework and real-world experience in fields including engineering, information technology and finance,” [7] among others.

Many of the Georgia and national initiatives to improve STEM performance and participation are relatively new. To provide a clearer picture regarding student STEM abilities, national and international tests are used to determine where we’ve been as a nation and where we’re at presently. 

National Tests

The CRCT is not the only important math and science test that Georgia students participate in.  Commonly known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a congressionally mandated project of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The purpose of the national assessment is to gather information that will aid educators, legislators, and others in improving the educational experience of youth in our country. Its primary goals are to measure the current status of the educational attainments of young Americans and to report changes and long-term trends in those attainments.

As shown in figures 10 and 11, Georgia outperformed the southeast average in math for both 4th and 8th grades, but lagged behind the national average for these two measures. However, by examining trends over time, it is evident that Georgia is making gains in 8th grade math.  While the 2011 scores remained relatively flat from 2009, the percent of students who did not meet the basic levels of proficiency had been cut from a high of 48 percent in 2000 to 32 percent in 2011.  Moreover, in 2011 Georgia was a leader in closing the achievement gap between lower and higher income students; one of only 16 states to do so.

The story is slightly different in science, as shown in figures 12 and 13. As a nation, there was an increase in the number of 8th grade students scoring at or above the Basic and Proficient levels on the science portion. Georgia was one of 16 states to see score improvement from 2009 to 2011 on the 8th grade science portion.

In 2009, Georgia was outpaced by both the southeast and national average for 4th grade science.  For 8th grade science, Georgia outpaced the southeast and was comparable with the nation.[8]  The very small number of students scoring “Advanced” on the NAEP foreshadows a shortage of experts in STEM occupations in the future.[9]  NAEP is not the only measure that indicates this troubling trend. While comparing Georgia to the region or national average is useful, comparing nations across the globe also serves to help us better understand how our students are progressing academically.

International Tests

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) conducts surveys of educational attainment across the globe.  There are 34 member countries who participate in these tests.  The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial survey of the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds. First conducted in 2000, it provides the means to compare educational progress across countries and cultures.  Below, figures 14 and 15 show how the U.S. has fared against the average score of the 34 OECD countries. 

 

The U.S. has scored below the average OECD country since the test’s inception.  Science scores have hovered closer to the OECD mean and narrowly surpassed it in 2009.   Math scores are also below the average OECD nation as well. Both scores rebounded in 2009 from the trough in 2006. Along with PISA, international comparisons can also be made by analyzing results from TIMMS.

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) provides reliable and timely data on the mathematics and science achievement of U.S. students compared to that of students in other countries. TIMSS is organized by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) in Amsterdam the Netherlands. In the United States, TIMSS is supported by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Each participating country is required to draw random samples of schools. In the U.S., a national probability sample is drawn for each study that resulted in over 20,000 students from both public and private schools participating in 2007. Each TIMSS assessment is administered to 4th and 8th graders in the areas of mathematics and science. TIMSS data has been collected in 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007. The results for 2011 will be released in December 2012. Figures 16 and 17 give some perspective on how the U.S. does compared to other countries.

 

U.S. students performed much better on these tests compared to PISA. In 2007, the U.S. was above average in 4th and 8th grade math and science. Only a small number of countries outperformed the U.S., while there were a few with trivial differences in average scores. While the U.S’s performance relative to other countries is good, the improvement over the years leaves much to be desired.

 

As table one illustrates, comparing the first test to the most recent, three out of four have shown improvement. However, these increases were not statistically significant.  It is, therefore, impossible to say with certainty that student performance was what caused the score improvements. These changes may be due solely to random variation. In fairness, only a few countries saw statistically significant improvement over this time period; it just reinforces the belief that the U.S. needs to take strong steps to improve STEM education. For a better understanding of STEM education, looking at teachers’ background will be helpful.

 

STEM Teacher Characteristics

The U.S. has an educated teacher workforce. Most states require a bachelor’s degree to become a teacher.  As figure 18 shows, around 99 percent of teachers have attained at least a bachelor’s degree.  Intuitively, one may assume that the more education one has, the better teacher they will be.  While this notion isn’t backed up by research conclusively[10] [11], some studies show that advanced degrees in math can make a big difference for students. [12]  Figure 18 shows the precise distribution of teachers’ educational attainment.

 

The Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) has teachers report the highest degree they have earned.  Georgia is third highest in the nation with 17.3 percent of its teachers earning higher than a Master’s degree.  Forty-three percent of teachers in Georgia earned a Master’s degree, which is slightly below the national average of 44.5 percent.  Like most other states, the remaining teachers have obtained their bachelor’s degree, with less than 1 percent not having earned a bachelor’s degree.[13]

With this in mind, there appears to be incongruity in terms of teacher placement.  In critical subjects like math and the sciences, far too many students are being taught by those whose specialty resides in other areas. Table 2 illustrates the deviation from the ideal setting, where all students are taught by teachers who have majored in a particular field of study.  Just over 72 percent of math teachers received their degree in a math subject. In science, 84 percent of teachers majored in a science subject. However, in the earth sciences only 33.2 percent of its teachers majoring in the subject, and over half the physical science and chemistry teachers had a degree in a different subject area.

STEM Graduate Characteristics

The fact that many students are being taught by teachers that didn’t major in math or science may play a factor in why the U.S. is producing far fewer college graduates with degrees in math or science compared to other industrialized nations.  The difference is even greater when looking at the percentage of Graduate degrees awarded. Figure 19 and 20 compare the U.S. and OECD countries in regards to degrees awarded since 2000.

 

 

Looking at student scores, years of underperformance has led to a decrease in qualified STEM teachers. Figure 21 below highlights a vicious circle that may be occurring in STEM education.

 

The local and national STEM projects in one way or another attempt to interrupt this circle at one of these stages. The Common Core Performance Standards are an attempt to increase student learning and performance including in STEM areas. The websites Stem Georgia and Go Build Georgia and the College and Career Pathways encourage students to consider STEM fields in higher education or apprenticeships in the workforce. If these efforts are successful, in a few short years there could be more STEM teachers ready to enter the workforce. It may be possible to interrupt this cycle and create a virtual circle where more and more students excel in STEM subjects and go on to be role models and teachers for following generations.

On July 19, 2012, President Obama announced a plan to create a STEM Teacher Corps. The Corps will begin with 50 outstanding STEM teachers from 50 different sites. The goal is for it to expand to 10,000 Master teachers in four years. In exchange for a multi-year commitment, selected teachers will receive a $20,000 bonus on top of their regular salary. The bonus is intended to incentivize teachers with a proven background of success to lend a hand at developing new STEM lesson plans and mentoring programs for other STEM teachers. Symbolically this gesture is quite significant in terms of the importance that STEM holds in the education community and this administration.

 

 


[1] Carnevale, A., Smith, N., & Melton, M. (2011). STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Washington, DC: Georgetown University: Center on Education and the Workforce.

[2] Ibid. 

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Change the Equation. Igniting Learning Initiative.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Note that the science portion of the NAEP was not administered to 4th graders in 2011, so the 2009 data is used below.

[9] Kuenzi, Jeffrey J. "Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: Background, Federal Policy, and Legislative Action" (2008). Congressional Research Service Reports. Paper 35.

[10] Rivkin, Steven G.; Hanushek, Eric A.; Kain, John F. “Teachers, Schools, and Academic Achievement.” Enonometrica. Vol. 73, No. 2.  March, 2005.

[11] Harris, Douglas N.; Sass, Tim R. “Teacher Training,Teacher Quality, and Student Achievement.” National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research.  March 2007.

[12] Ibid.

[13] National Center for Education Statistics. Public school teachers by highest degree earned and state: 2007-2008.

Research Tells Us

The STEM education gap will lead to an employment gap: where American students will be less qualified to compete for jobs both here and abroad and where American dependence on the recruitment and retention of foreign talent continues to grow.[1] In 2005, 36 percent of science and engineering doctorate degrees were awarded to foreign nationals—a high percentage considering many return home to put their skills to use. An outcome such as this is not good for the nation’s economic development and sustainability. The Bureau of Labor predicts that by 2018, 15 of the 30 fastest growing occupations will be in fields that require STEM education.[2] Statistics such as this give credence to the alarm many are sounding.

STEM job positions are already available for those qualified. When unemployment is as widespread as it currently is, having STEM skills is a boon to the job search. Change the Equation created a graphic to show the opportunities that STEM education provides.

Experts agree that there will be significant problems if STEM education isn’t improved. Various levels of government have been experimenting with ways to improve student outcomes in STEM subjects. One example of proactive solutions to STEM student achievement was the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI). The initiative set out to improve classroom practices by providing professional development, access to materials and technology, and in-school support to teachers. The two main focuses were to increase the amount of hands-on learning in the classroom, and provide comprehensive professional development. Students receiving the Initiative program scored four percentile points higher in math on the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) than a control group, and five percentile points higher on the science portion of the test.[3]

While a lot the focus is deservedly on K-12 efforts, college-level environments also contribute to the shortage of STEM students and workers. Many students who begin STEM majors will switch to another area of study, and a large part of the problem of poor retention lies with the students’ experience in the classroom.[4] Some suggest that encouraging professors to better manage their time between teaching and research will lead to better student outcomes, as well as being more collaborative and active in the classroom.[5] There is no silver bullet, but with more work STEM education reform and improvement will occur as a product of overall education reform.


[1] Chow, Christina M.  “Learning From Our Global Competitors:  A Comparative Analysis of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Pipelines in the United States, Mainland China, and Taiwan.”   August 2011.

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics, B. (2010). “Fastest Growing Occupations, 2008-2018.” Washington, DC: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

[3] Newman, Denis, et al. “Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative.” Institute of Education Sciences. February 2012.

[4] Seymour, E., & Hewitt, N. (1997). Talking About Leaving: Why Undergraduates Leave the Sciences. Boulder, CO: Westview.

[5] Fairweather, James. “Linking Evidence and Promising Practices in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Undergraduate Education.”

For More Information

Change the Equation - http://changetheequation.org/

Change the Equation (CTEq) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, CEO-led initiative that is mobilizing the business community to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning in the United States. Since its launch in September 2010, CTEq has helped its more than 100 members connect and align their philanthropic and advocacy efforts so that they add up to much more than the sum of their parts.

 

Georgia Department of Education—www.gadoe.org

The Georgia Department of Education has a wealth of resources about that state accountability system that are accessible on their website.

 

STEM Georgia—www.stemgeorgia.org

This website aggregates all of the STEM information a Georgian could need. Information and resources are provided for schools, teachers, and students. Also, notices of competitions and festivals involving STEM learning are available.

  

STEM Education Coalition—www.stemedcoalition.org

The STEM Education Coalition works aggressively to raise awareness in Congress, the Administration, and other organizations about the critical role that STEM education plays in enabling the U.S. to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace of the 21st century. 

 

Technology Associates of Georgia – Education Collaborative (TAG-ED) – http://www.tagedonline.org/

Formerly The TAG Foundation, The TAG Education Collaborative is a 501c3 non-profit organization which was formed by the Technology Association of Georgia in 1999. In 2009, the organization’s name was changed to The TAG Education Collaborative to facilitate a rebranding that would enable it to be a catalyst for Georgia’s K-12 education system to become a leaders and innovator for STEM related education.

 

Vital Signs – http://vitalsigns.changetheequation.org/

Created in collaboration with the American Institutes for Research, Vital Signs offer the most comprehensive available picture of STEM in your state—the demand for and supply of STEM skills, what states expect of students, students’ access to learning opportunities, and the resources schools and teachers have to do their work.

 

In The News

Do Schools Challenge Our Students?
Center for American Progress

This provides insight into what student surveys tell us about the state of education in the United States. It concludes we need to find new and better ways to provide students with the knowledge and skills that they need to succeed. (July 2012)

Obama plans to spend $1 billion to create 'master' science and math teachers
Fox News

The Obama administration has unveiled plans to create an elite corps of master teachers, a $1 billion effort to boost U.S. students' achievement in science, technology, engineering and math. (July 2012)

Universal Design for Learning: Growing Momentum in States and Districts
National Center on Universal Design for Learning

UDL is a curriculum framework that evolved from adapting technology to meet needs of students with physical and cognitive disabilities; it can help students from all backgrounds and at all levels become successful learners. (May 2012)

Searching for the reality of virtual schools - at a glance
The Center for Public Education

There is little solid research on the impact of online courses or schools. This paper finds a few examples of online learning having a positive effect, but most of what was uncovered is not encouraging. At least not yet. (May 2012)

Top School Technology News - April 2012
eSchool News

In the April 2012 issue of eSchool News, we report on several significant technology-related developments of interest to schools, including Microsoft's attempt to compete with Apple and Google in the era of mobile computing. (April 2012)

2012 National Survey on STEM Education - Corporate and Non-profit Edition
StemReports.com

The third in a series of National Surveys on STEM Education, the report contains 147 pages of detailed data and analysis and it delves into current trends (a fee is charged for the report). (April 2012)

School across the country bring iPads to the classroom
McClatchy News

On a warm spring morning, a pair of first-grade bodys enter the computer lab at Jamestown Elementary, a traditional looking red-brick neighborhood school that's educated generations of students. (April 2012)

Printable Document

For a printable pdf version of this information, click here.

270 Peachtree Street, Suite 2000, Atlanta, GA, 30303, 404-223-2280