Making the CASE for STEM Education
in the U.S.
- The 100 largest public school districts, representing
less than 1 percent (0.6 percent) of all school districts in the United States
and jurisdictions, were responsible for the education of 23 percent of all
public school students. National Center for Education Statistics – Characteristics of the 100 largest school
- Between 1970 and 2007, children ages 3–4 had the largest increase in
enrollment rates. There was also growth in enrollment rates for those ages
18–19 and 20–24. The condition of education 2009. NCES/ISE.
- In 2005–06, about
three-quarters of the 2002–03 freshman class graduated from high school with a
regular diploma. The Condition of Education 2009.
- In 2007, students in grades 4 and 8 showed improvements from all
previous NAEP assessments at all mathematics achievement levels. The
Condition of Education 2009.
- The achievement gap between White and Black
4th-graders was smaller in 2007 than in 1990 (26 vs. 32 points), while the gap
between White and Hispanic 4th-graders (21 points) in 2007 was not measurably
different from the gap in 1990 despite fluctuations over time. At grade 8,
average scores in 2007 were higher than in any previous assessment for White,
Black, and Hispanic students. The
Condition of Education 2009.
- Despite the gains made in mathematics (and to a lesser
extent, science) from the 1990s to 2005, most 4th, 8th, and 12th graders do not
perform at levels considered proficient for their grade. Just more than
one-third of fourth graders reached the proficient level in mathematics in
2005, and the rates were lower for mathematics at grades 8 and 12, and at all
three grades for science. Science and
- American 15-year-olds ranked 25th in math and 21stn in
science achievement on the most recent international assessment conducted in
2006. At the same time, the U.S. ranked high in inequity, with the third
largest gap in science scores between students from different socioeconomic
groups. Achieve Inc.
- Class of 2005 graduates completed mathematics courses
at far higher rates than their 1990 counterparts in all categories except
trigonometry/algebra III. The proportion of students completing courses in
precalculus/analysis, calculus, and Advanced Placement/International
Baccalaureate (AP/IB) calculus at least doubled since 1990. Science and Engineering Indicators 2008.
Post Secondary STEM
- Between 1975 and 2005, the percentage of students ages
16–24 enrolling in college immediately following high school graduation rose
from 51% to 69%. Science and Engineering
- STEM undergraduate entrants
generally did better than non-STEM entrants in terms of bachelor's degree
attainment and overall persistence. NCES
- As recently as 1995, America still tied for first in
college and university graduation rates, but by 2006 had dropped to 14th. That
same year it had the second-highest college dropout rate of 27 countries. Achieve Inc.
- American 15-year-olds rank in the bottom-third of
developed nations in overall performance in math and science. Achieve Inc.
- The most powerful computing systems in the world are
in the United States, but America lacks sufficient numbers of computational
scientists to exploit its leadership position. The biggest single constraint on
the deployment of advanced computation tools is the lack of computational
scientists. Council on Competitiveness.
- America’s innovation advantage rests not just on
having the most advanced tools and technologies in the world, but the people to
use them. Council on Competitiveness.
math performance at the end of high school translates into a 12 percent
increase in future earnings. If the United States raised students math and
science skills to globally competitive levels over the next two decades, its
GDP would be an additional 36 percent higher 75 years from now. Microsoft Study
the U.S. improved enough to become a top-performing nation on international
assessments between 2005 and 2025, by 2037 its GDP would be an additional 5
percent higher than if skills stayed the same. Improving human capital pays off
even more handsomely over a longer time horizon. By 2080, America’s GDP would
be 36 percent higher than would be the case if the U.S. remained mediocre in
math and science. Microsoft Study
additional year of schooling among the adult population raises a nation’s
economic output by between 3 percent and 6 percent. High skills lead to
elevated individual wages, a more equitable distribution of income, and
substantial gains in economic productivity. Achieve
of their sheer size, China and India will surpass both Europe and the United
States in the number of secondary and postsecondary graduates produced over the
next decade. Achieve Inc.
- According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
labor force growth will slow to below 0.5 percent by 2020 before increasing
again to only around 0.5 percent by 2040. Bureau
of Labor Statistics.
- The U.S. share of the world’s scientists and engineers
is projected to fall from 40 percent in 1975 to 15 percent in 2010. Science
and Engineering Indicators 2008.
- Many of today’s science and engineering graduates will
work in the service economy. They need the knowledge and tools to compete
successfully. Council on Competitiveness.
asked about how pre-college science should be taught, almost nine in ten (86%)
Americans say they favor replacing textbook-based education with hands-on
science learning that helps students develop skills such as critical-thinking,
problem-solving and working collaboratively with others.