The Rise of Stem in Schools
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The Rise of STEM in Schools

Over the last decade, the U.S. has seen nearly 2 million new STEM jobs — but students’ math and science scores continue to lag behind other nations*

*According to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

How can schools better prepare them with badly needed STEM skills?

What Is STEM?

  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
    • Coined in 2001 by Judith Ramaley, Assistant Director of Education & Family Resources at the National Science Foundation (NSF)
      • Since then, STEM-focused curricula have extended around the world
    • In 2005, “Rising About the Gathering Storm” was released by the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine
      • Argued U.S. students were academically behind in STEM achievements
        • The same year, American 8th graders placed 12th in math and science skills* — behind Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong
           *According to The International Math & Science Study (TIMSS)
      • Predicted dire economic consequences of a poorly prepared workforce
        • At the time, the U.S. patent office granted more patents (51%) to foreign nationals and foreign companies than to Americans
      • Reflected a newfound focus on STEM careers and curriculum
  • Why Is STEM Essential?
    • “We go where the smart people are. Now our business operations are two-thirds in the U.S. and one-third overseas. But that ratio will flip over the next 10 years.” — Howard High, Chief Spokesman for Intel
      • 86% of Americans believe that increasing STEM-trained workers is vital to maintaining the nation’s place in the global economy
    • “A physicist is one of the most employable people in the marketplace….a trained problem solver. How many times have you heard a person in a workplace say, ‘I wasn’t trained for this!’ That’s an impossible reaction from a physicist, who would say, instead, ‘Cool.’” — Neil deGrasse Tyson
      • Just 15% of Americans pursue natural science degrees — far less than in other nations
        • South Korea: 38%
        • France: 47%
        • China: 50%
        • Singapore: 67%

Raising a STEM workforce starts long before college — Where do schools begin?

STEM 101

  • How STEM Builds Skills

STEM is an ever-evolving and expanding field — success requires the ability to continue to learn and adapt to new situations

  • Activities present engaging materials for hands-on learning
  • Project-based lessons help build soft skills, like
    • Creativity and innovation
    • Collaboration and leadership
    • Problem-solving and critical thinking
  • “Making [something] highlights relationships. You don’t have to know everything — you use the resources of the community.” — Lisa Brahms, Director of Learning and Research at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
  • History Of STEM In The Classroom
    • 2007, America COMPETES Act
      • Increased funding for STEM education and research programs
      • Most of the funding went to NSF scholarships for STEM teachers
    • 2013, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Today, 71% of students in the U.S. students have a science curriculum influenced by NGSS

  • Internationally benchmarked, research-based learning targets
  • Developed through a wide-ranging partnership, including
    • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, & Medicine
    • The National Science Teachers Association
    • The American Association for the Advancement of Science 
    • State-level representatives and other stakeholders
  • 2015, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Obama called bipartisan support for the bill a “Christmas miracle”

  • Increased federal funding for K-12 STEM, including
    • Activities, after-school programs, and field trips
    • Professional development and teaching materials
    • Specialty schools and magnet programs
  • Established STEM Master Teacher Corps
  • Added computer science as a core subject 

Today’s high school graduates are some of the first to go through all of K-12 education with a focus on STEM

Is STEM Working? 

  • Test Results Are Mixed
    • From 1995 to 2015, U.S. students improved their math skills significantly* *According to TIMSS
      • 4th-graders average scores increased from 518 to 539
      • 8th-graders average scored increased from 492 to 518
      • Both high- and low-performing students showed improvement
      • BUT, science scores weren’t as promising
        • 4th-graders average scores increased from 542 to 546
          • Low-performing students improved, but high-performing students declined
        • 8th-graders average scores increased from 513 to 546
          • Improvement was only seen amongst the lowest-performing students
    • From 2015 to 2018, U.S. students improved their international standing* *According to PISA
      • In 2015, 10th-grade students ranked
        • #35 in math
        • #17 in science
      • In 2018, 10th-grade students ranked
        • #30 in math
        • #11 in science
      • BUT, actual scores have remained stagnant for over a decade
  • More Grads Choose STEM
    • From 2010-2016, undergraduate degrees in STEM fields grew by 43%
    • In 2018, 3 in 4 college grads majored in STEM-related fields
    • 86% of high school graduates plan to pursue a STEM career

BUT, With 8 of the 10 fastest-growing jobs in STEM, 2.4 million positions still went unfilled in 2018

  • The Crisis Isn’t Over
    • More than half of U.S. patents still go to foreign nationals and foreign companies
      • The U.S. remains a net importer of high-tech products
    • 92% of employers say their need for employees with technical skills is increasing
      • 74% say finding the right talent is getting harder
  • As technology grows, specific skills become obsolete — the ability to adapt, learn, and solve problems will be the future of the STEM workforce

Grow your ability to “learn by doing” and your skills will never be obsolete

The Rise of Stem in Schools