Once there were more than 350 planetariums in schools around the country. But now their numbers are shrinking. They’re getting old, and so schools have a choice: Keep the stars shining, or turn the lights out for good.
To explain how hundreds of schools around the country got a planetarium in the first place, you have to look not into outer space, but back through time. And over time, schools have had to decide to either pay for expensive upkeep, or get rid of the planetarium all together.
What will education in California look like under President Trump? Nan Austin of The Modesto Bee offers her take, noting the ”stability built in by state law and sheer size.”
In this story on tall tales during exam week, one Indiana University professor tells Michael Reschke of The Herald-Times that this ”can be an especially dangerous time of year for grandmothers, grandfathers and pets,” who all seem to fall suddenly ill.
Scores on Virginia’s Standards of Learning math tests have gone up three years straight at Fairfax County’s J.E.B. Stuart High School. The improvement stems mostly from better teaching and more time for instruction, but a little-noticed part of this process deserves special mention. Bill Horkan, a veteran math teacher at Stuart, says an innovation has been added involving a fact of human nature not usually taught in education schools.
The U.S. Department of Education has once again rejected California’s bid to begin phasing in tests this spring based on new science standards, in lieu of current tests based on standards in place since 1998.
Among the New York philanthropies with dynastic names and assets in the billions, one local charity with a nine-figure endowment has been doing its work almost invisibly — for half a century. The Pinkerton Foundation, formed in 1966 by the family that made its fortune in private security, has quietly given more than $300 million to children’s organizations in the city.
The State Board of Education on Thursday approved a new science framework that makes California the first state in the nation to produce a framework based on the Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 grades.
“This has been a long time in coming. It is really an exemplar for the nation,” said Ilene Straus, vice president of the board.
Tennessee is getting a big pat on the back from the country’s top education officials. Science scores are in from the National Assessment of Education Progress, and the state leap-frogged ahead to become “most-improved” since 2011.
Just a few years ago, Tennessee had “embarrassingly low” scores, according to Education Commissioner Candice McQueen. But in the most recent assessment, Tennessee students excelled. Tennessee was also the only state where both elementary and middle school students scored above the national average.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, is called The Nation’s Report Card for good reason; the tests are administered the same way year after year, using the same kind of test booklets, to students across the country. That allows researchers and educators to compare student progress over time. NAEP tests serve as a big research project to benchmark academic achievement, but how well can a multiple-choice and short-answer test assess a subject as complicated as science? NPR reached out to science education experts to help answer that question.
The boys (and girls) are back in town. For class, that is.
See how forced that lede was? Back-to-school reporting can take on a similar tinge of predictability, with journalists wondering how an occasion as locked in as the changing of the seasons can be written about with the freshness of spring.
Recently some of the beat’s heavy hitters dished with EWA’s Emily Richmond about ways newsrooms can take advantage of the first week of school to tell important stories and cover overlooked issues.
A community program working to reduce violence through soccer and an after-school robotics class serving Latino youth in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region have each received up to $50,000 in grants to aid their efforts from the Inter-American Development Bank.
Reporter Armando Trull provides insight into these two programs in a story for WAMU.
At a time when the volume of student achievement data can seem overwhelming, brace yourself: A wave of international test results for dozens of countries, including the U.S., is coming soon.
For education reporters, coming up with fresh ideas for back-to-school stories is an annual ritual. And if you’re balancing the K-12 and higher education beats, it can be an even bigger challenge.
The battle over Common Core education standards is playing out across the country, but a new set of requirements for teaching science is creeping into curricula without the same fanfare. Some states are voluntarily adopting the practices, which emphasize more consistent science instruction as well as hands-on experimentation.
In an effort to measure students’ understanding of basic engineering and technology principles, a new national assessment aims to move beyond multiple-choice questions and instead focus on troubleshooting in real-world scenarios. For example, students are tasked with designing a healthier habitat for a pet iguana, or building safer bike lanes in a city.
We know many American students struggle with math and trail many of their international peers. Conventional wisdom says that’s keeping them from developing the kind of critical thinking skills they need for high-paying STEM careers, and to be successful in a 21st century global economy. But is that shortsighted view of a bigger — and more positive — picture?
The state of Florida is one step closer to equating computer coding with foreign languages.
A controversial bill, which passed by a wide margin in the state Senate Wednesday would allow students to take computer coding for foreign language credit and require the state’s public colleges and universities to recognize it as such.
Spanish. French. German. Computer coding. Are they the same?
This question is at the center of a debate in Florida, where legislators are currently considering a bill that would require high schools to offer computer coding as a foreign-language credit.
Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings announced this week a new philanthropic endeavor to invest $100 million in education. A portion of his first $1.5 million gift will support Latino youth through the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.
For years, common experience and studies have prescribed that humans learn best in their earliest years of life – when the brain is developing at its fastest. Recently, though, research has suggested that the period of optimal learning extends well into adolescence.
As the tune of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” plays out over the music video, the lyrics are a bit different:
“We will make mistakes…our method’s gonna break…not a piece of cake…we’re gonna shake it off, shake it off…”
It was in this video Stanford University Professor and author Jo Boaler says she was compelled to do something she didn’t want to do. “They made me rap,” she said. When her undergraduate students challenged whether she had a growth mindset about her rhyme skills, Boaler said to herself, “Oh my gosh. I’m gonna have to rap.”
In a speech honoring Hispanic Heritage Month and the 25th anniversary of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics Thursday, President Obama praised Hispanic students for helping drive the U.S. high school graduation rate to an all-time high and also announced the commitments of hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to boost student academic success.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is on the road this week for his sixth annual back-to-school bus tour.
The Education Writers Association, the national professional organization for journalists who cover education, is thrilled to announce that its annual conference will take place from Sunday, May 1, through Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in the historic city of Boston.
Co-hosted by Boston University’s College of Communication and School of Education, EWA’s 69th National Seminar will examine a wide array of timely topics in education — from early childhood through career — while expanding and sharpening participants’ skills in reporting and storytelling.
More Latinos are earning degrees in science, technology, engineering and math fields; yet more are needed, a new report by Excelencia in Education claims.
According to the study, “Finding Your Workforce: Latinos in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math,” Latinos earning credentials in STEM increased to 9 percent in 2013 from 8 percent in 2010.
Latino and black students in the Dallas Independent School District lead the nation in the number of students who pass Advanced Placement exams. A recent story by KERA News explores the reasons for this, uncovering a unique approach that’s worth sharing.
The United States has a gifted and talented student problem: Mainly, too few of the nation’s students score high on domestic and international assessments, and those that do are disproportionately well-off, Asian-American or white.
The Condition of Latinos in Education: 2015 Factbook
Excelencia in Education
Excelencia in Education
Excelencia in Education is committed to using data to inform public policy and institutional practice to achieve our mission of accelerating student success for Latinos in higher education. We know college success does not begin at the college gates. Every educational experience from early childhood to high school and into the workforce influences the potential for college success.
Fewer than half of Hispanic students who took the ACT this year met the college readiness benchmarks in math or science, but those who actually expressed interest in STEM fared better on the college admissions exam.
DALLAS – The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) boosted student enrollment in college-level math, science and English courses by more than 50,000 in the 2013-14 school year. Based on the most recent data from the College Board, NMSI’s College Readiness Program—working in just 566 schools—also raised the number of Advanced Placement* qualifying exam scores by more than 18,500 exams, representing more than 13,000 additional students who are better prepared for college after this past school year.
In 2004, a group of four undocumented immigrant Latino high school students accomplished an astonishing achievement.
Competing on a robotics team formed at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, the four young men defeated students from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology in an elite robotics competition.
You don’t walk into a shoe store and say: Here’s my eighth-grade son, give him an eighth-grade shoe.
“You measure his foot,” said David Lubinski, professor of psychology and human development at Vanderbilt University.
Lubinski used this metaphor to illustrate why education should be tailored toward a child’s academic abilities. Specifically, he was referring to those children who are gifted, which was the discussion topic during a panel discussion moderated by The Wall Street Journal’s education reporter Leslie Brody at EWA’s National Seminar in May in Nashville.
Trey Mack, a doctoral candidate in astronomy, didn’t believe he could land a spot in a great master’s program, let alone a doctoral program, until a friend of a friend introduced him to the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge program.
What are the challenges for teachers in handling topics that scientists may see as settled questions, but that still stir contention in society at large? University of Southern California professor Gale Sinatra talks about the challenges educators, students and the community face when dealing with controversial science topics such as evolution and climate change.
Recorded Feb. 21, 2014 at EWA’s seminar for reporters, “STEM and Beyond: Strengthening the Skills of Students and Journalists.”
EWA recently held a seminar on STEM education and student skills at the University of Southern California. We asked some of the reporters who participated to contributes posts from the sessions. Today’s guest blogger is Brian McVicar of the Grand Rapids Press. You can find out more about STEM education on EWA’s topic pages.
EWA recently held a seminar on STEM education and student skills at the University of Southern California. We asked some of the reporters who participated to contributes posts from the sessions. Today’s guest blogger is Kevin Hardy of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. You can find out more about STEM education on EWA’s topic pages.
We’ve all seen them: The two or three desktops sitting against a classroom wall. The labs filled with rows of Dells or Macs.
EWA recently held a seminar on STEM education and student skills at the University of Southern California. We asked some of the reporters who participated to contributes posts from the sessions. Today’s guest blogger is freelance education journalist Brenda Iasevoli. You can find out more about STEM education and also about the Common Core State Standards on EWA’s topic pages.
Textbook publishers are slapping Common Core stickers on old textbooks.
EWA recently held a seminar on STEM education and student skills at the University of Southern California. We asked some of the reporters who participated to contributes posts from the sessions. Today’s guest blogger is Lillian Mongeau of Ed Source. You can find out more about STEM education on EWA’s topic pages.
The National Science Board’s biennial book, “Science and Engineering Indicators,” consistently finds that the U.S. produces many more STEM graduates than the workforce can absorb. Meanwhile, employers say managers are struggling to find qualified workers in STEM fields. What explains these apparently contradictory trends?
EWA recently held a seminar on STEM education and student skills at the University of Southern California. We asked some of the reporters who participated to contributes posts from the sessions. Today’s guest blogger is Joe Robertson of the Kansas City Star. You can find out more about STEM education on EWA’s topic pages.
EWA recently held a seminar on STEM education and student skills at the University of Southern California. We asked some of the reporters who participated to contributes posts from the sessions. Today’s guest blogger is Ben Wermund of the Austin Statesman. You can find out more about STEM education on EWA’s topic pages.
EWA recently held a seminar on STEM education and student skills at the University of Southern California. We asked some of the reporters who participated to contributes posts from the sessions. Today’s guest blogger is freelance education writer Timothy Pratt. You can find out more about STEM education on EWA’s topic pages.
EWA recently held a seminar on STEM education and student skills at the University of Southern California. We asked some of the reporters who participated to contribute posts from the sessions. Today’s guest blogger is Maggie Severns of Politico. You can find out more about STEM education on EWA’s topic pages.
This is a report by the Council of Independent Colleges. The report authors say the findings suggest that, as a sector, small and mid-sized private institutions perform better than public institutions in students’ persistence and undergraduate degree completion rates in STEM fields and they substantially outperform public nondoctoral institutions.
Big changes are afoot in how schools prepare students for the knowledge economy. Career and technical education is no longer and byword for tracking, and districts are exploring ways to make science and technology learning hands-on. Our panelists discuss the trends and challenges in preparing students for a meaningful place in the highly skilled workforce.
Speakers: Jim Stone III, National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, University of Louisville; Steve Rockenbach, Ernest S. McBride High School; Abraham Orozco, Heart of Los Angeles.
Are you an education journalist? Do you want to know more about how schools are preparing students for future workforce, and what changes are coming to your local classrooms when it comes to computer science and math instruction? Are you familiar with the latest research on how students learn, and whether current instructional methods are aligned with those findings? Would you like to be a more confident writer when it comes to reporting on student demographics?
As policy and political leaders sound the alarm on America’s dwindling competitive edge, it’s up to journalists to vet those claims and examine the measures used to gauge whether U.S. students are prepared to thrive in the 21st century economy. Central to the debate over the country’s international standing is the question of whether the U.S. education system is up to par in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
How will the U.S. fare against other countries when the results from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2012 are released on Dec. 3?
The Common Core State Standards are poised to remake public education from Maine to California. While the initiative once enjoyed widespread bipartisan support, in 2013 it began facing significant political pushback. As of June 2014, the number of states that fully adopted the standards has dropped from 45 to 42, with the governors of Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina signing legislation to pull out. Several others are considering similar moves. More states have backed out of the student assessment groups associated with the standards, committing to big-dollar contracts with other large testing companies.
Think U.S. students are woefully behind their international peers? A new cross-country study shows American eighth graders in most states test above average in math and science when compared to students abroad.
The new Common Core State Standards, fully adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, are poised to remake K-12 schooling from Massachusetts to California.
News coverage of the process and politics surrounding the Common Core State Standards has become relatively plentiful. But less attention has been paid to the longer-lasting instructional changes that are already affecting students and teachers. To address that gap, EWA hosted this event with top experts on the shifts in math and literacy instruction that the standards are designed to bring about. Consider this your intro class to the new Common Core content.
Is it better to teach fractions to elementary school students using a cut-up pie or a number line?
As 45 states plus the District of Columbia roll out the new Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English, teachers, parents, students and reporters will encounter a new set of practices many scholars say are necessary to improve K-12 learning across the country.
These common signposts are expected to greatly alter the education landscape.
How equitable is education in your school districts? Do low-income and minority students have the same access to advanced math and science classes, or Advanced Placement courses? Are teachers in low-income schools veterans or new teachers?
K-12 Opportunity Gaps and Out-of-School Factors, The Educated Reporter:
EWA’s 66th National Seminar was recently held at Stanford University, and we asked some of the education reporters attending to contribute blog posts from the sessions, including one examining President Obama’s universal preschool proposal.
We asked some of the journalists attending EWA’s 66th National Seminar, held at Stanford University in May, to contribute posts from the sessions. Michelle Sokol of the State Journal in Frankfort, Ky. is today’s guest blogger.
Students used to receive their technical education in one classroom and academic education in another — but it’s not your father’s shop class anymore.
It’s not uncommon for college students to switch majors — but the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields see more than their fair share of early exits by freshmen.
What steps are under way to help incoming college freshmen prepare for their first semester of classes, particularly those in the STEM disciplines? Students planning to major in science, technology, engineering and math often make early exits from those fields, but switching a college major can be costly for the student and may even lead to dropping out altogether. From summer bridge programs that refresh rising freshmen on key concepts to learning communities that pair students and mentors, programs are emerging to help high school graduates enter college STEM courses prepared.
Jon Marcus of The Hechinger Report talks about some key stories on the higher education beat that lead to his second prize in the 2012 National Awards for Education Reporting. Recorded at EWA’s 66th National Seminar, May 4, 2013 at Stanford University.
Traditionally, career and technical education (CTE) has often translated into tracking low-income students into less demanding classes. But with a focus on college and career readiness, a national push is under way to fuse rigorous academics and career training at the high school level.
From the president’s State of the Union address to the local want ads, STEM education and the careers these disciplines can lead to have become a centerpiece of discussions of education reform. This discussion will explore why STEM has become such a hot topic. Panelists: Linda Rosen, CEO, Change the Equation David Saba, COO, National Math and Science Initiative Scott Jaschik, Co-Founder and Editor, Inside Higher Ed (moderator). Recorded at EWA’s STEM Education conference at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Feb. 8, 2013.
Two top STEM education reporters offer their insights on developments reporters should be following this year along with tips for breaking down the issues and connecting with sources. Panelists: Scott Jaschik, Co-Founder and Editor, Inside Higher Ed and Erik Robelen, Assistant Editor, Education Week. Recorded at EWA’s seminar on STEM Education at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Feb. 8, 2013.
If you couldn’t make it to our Feb. 8 seminar, Under the Microscope: Examining STEM Education, we’ll be collecting resources from it on this page over the next few days.
First, check out this video report featuring participants from our STEM Science Fair:
Politicians and CEOs alike deplore the lack of graduates with the skills to fill science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs. But what will it take to get students interested in STEM fields, and how do schools teach those subjects effectively? How can higher ed encourage American students to pursue STEM when so many are inclined to switch majors? How do school systems and universities better cultivate STEM talent so that the nation’s teaching corps is up to the challenge?
The 2009 NAEP Science results can be isolated according to race, free and reduced lunch status, gender, type of school, and whether the test-takers had individualized education programs or were English language learners.
Launched in 2009, the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future’s STEM Learning Studios offer “project-based learning environments in which 4-6 teachers within the same school work in interdisciplinary, cross-curricular teams. … Working with local scientists and engineers, teachers from different content areas work together to develop and implement year-long project investigations.”
The STEM Education Coalition gathers more than 500 members from business, education and professional organizations and “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.”
The National Science Teachers Association is the professional organizations for the nations more than 60,000 science teachers. The NSTA publishes teaching guidebooks, influences education policy, and holds regular conferences for its members.
The National Science Foundation “is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 ‘to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…’” The NSF has been particularly focused on increasing the numbers of black and Latino students who pursue STEM degrees.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics “is a public voice of mathematics education, supporting teachers to ensure equitable mathematics learning of the highest quality for all students through vision, leadership, professional development, and research.”
Change the Equation “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.” The organization was founded in 2010 and quickly has become one of the more vocal advocates of STEM education.
The American Association of University Women “advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.” Since its founding in 1881, the association has addressed the concerns of women in education, most recently focusing its efforts on attracting more female students to science and mathematics majors in college.
This source is a database of all federally backed science projects associated with NSF. For example, type in keywords like gender and K-12 and learn of any related projects.
Pupils at El Verano Elementary School aren’t just learning the science behind shadows, they’re also improving their English-language skills.
Experts say high schools, community colleges, and businesses need to work together to fill a gap of an estimated 600,000 jobs, largely in manufacturing, and cities such as Chicago are spearheading initiatives to do just that.
By 2017, the first wave of students of P-Tech — Pathways in Technology Early College High School — is expected to emerge with associate’s degrees in applied science in computer information systems or electromechanical engineering technology, following a course of studies developed in consultation with I.B.M. “I mean, in 10th grade, doing college work?” said Monesia McKnight, 15, as she sat in an introduction to computer systems course taught by a college professor. “How great is that?”
Now, several forces have aligned to revive the hope that the Internet (or rather, humans using the Internet from Lahore to Palo Alto, Calif.) may finally disrupt higher education — not by simply replacing the distribution method but by reinventing the actual product. New technology, from cloud computing to social media, has dramatically lowered the costs and increased the odds of creating a decent online education platform.
The studies, which were discussed at a recent meeting here at Carnegie Mellon University, highlight one way to boost learning in algebraic expression, a concept considered critical in the Common Core State Standards but which educators say is perennially challenging to students. The study found that personalized math problems not only made it easier for students to understand what was being asked, but also helped boost the confidence of students who may have been intimidated by the subject.
Education Nation: Program Aims to Lure Next-Generation Engineers and Math Whizzes into the Classroom
Her pitch was the first step in a special program at the University of Texas known as UTeach, an effort to entice talented math and science majors who might otherwise become doctors or engineers to choose teaching instead. It was developed in answer to a growing crisis in American education.
Change the Equation is “pleased to unveil its 2012 Vital Signs, which measure the health of the K-12 STEM learning enterprise, state by state. 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.
New research has revealed the key to middle grades achievement. Recent evidence makes clear that each middle-grader’s personal, individual engagement in school is essential to his or her success. Studies repeatedly show that students who lose interest in school in the middle grades are likely to flounder in ninth grade — and later drop out. Yet developmental and brain research confirms that by the middle grades, students are capable of making connections between their academic work, their personal interests and career aptitudes.
This article covers many topics in the STEM space, including the large pay bump STEM graduates can expect, the smaller gap in wages between men and women in STEM compared to the labor sector at large, and outreach to minority populations to become more involved in the STEM pipeline. Certain insights by interview subjects were provocative.
This article discusses efforts by universities to ramp up their recruitment efforts to attract women and minorities into STEM fields. The recommendations come from a report drafted by EducationCounsel and the American Association for the Advancement of Science with the backing of top higher education groups including the American Council on Education, the Association of American Universities, and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.
Underscoring how much community colleges prepare people for mid-level STEM job openings, this article examines the nexus of mid- and large-level that who recruit heavily from nearby community colleges. Through interviews with human resource personnel and company owners, a sentiment emerges that four-year institutions are too slow to respond to immediate business demands. The article crystallizes the difference between students with a mastery of calculus and those with a facility for engineering and manufacturing symbols, jargon, software, and equipment.
Also noted in the article: Community colleges are becoming much more entrepreneurial.
This article notes the average time a tenured professor spends teaching in a STEM field varies by subject, with math professors sticking around an average of seven years, while female biology professors remain in their positions for 16 years. There were notable gaps in the length of time women and men stay in their roles, and the article points out that just over a quarter of the professors that appeared in the findings were female.
Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
The president’s council on STEM argues the STEM pipeline needs an additional one million STEM workers in the coming years. The report notes less than 40 percent of students who choose STEM as an academic interest stay in the field. Upping that to 50 percent would achieve roughly 750,000 new STEM workers. Other solutions for engaging more would-be STEM workers include using evidence-based teaching methods at the college level and assisting students who have the aptitude for the sciences but lack a requisite knowledge of mathematics.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education: Strategic Planning Needed to Better Manage Overlapping Programs Across Multiple Agencies analyzes the number of federally funded STEM programs, the degree of similarity among them, and the efforts made to measure their effectiveness. The GAO found overlaps among 83% of the 209 STEM education programs examined. The criteria for overlap are that programs have at least one similar target population, provide at least one similar service with at least one similar STEM field of focus, and have at least one similar program objective.
This article challenges the common wisdom about problems within the STEM pipeline, arguing instead that there is no STEM talent shortage but rather an overabundance of STEM students. The writer pillories public officials and the news media for going along with and offers suggestions on how to better report on the STEM pipeline.
This is a round-up of dozens of surveys monitoring public attitudes toward federal science spending, the popularity of scientists, and more polarizing issues in science such as evolution and climate change research. The data collected also include science acumen based on type of college degree earned and attitudes toward various professions. No surprise: The public has the least amount of confidence in the press [Figure 7-15].
This review of state science standards argues that clarity and breadth in standards can help with instruction and promote sound analytical skills. The report concludes that many states are vague in the content educators are expected to teach. Only 25 percent of the states reviewed received a “B” or higher from Fordham, while roughly half of the jurisdictions had a score of “D” or below. The standards also shirk guidelines on how to link inquiry-based learning with content, according to the researchers.
Coupled with cuts in the time students spend in science classrooms, these shortcomings can have negative effects on not only proficiency but interest in the subjects, as well, the report concludes.
This study, collaboration between Change the Equation—an organization for corporate executives concerned about STEM education—and the American Institutes for Research, demonstrates that of 37 state science standards reviewed, only four are on par with the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ standards. Though roughly two-thirds of states claim their eighth grade students are proficient, an ACT 2011 study noted only 16 percent of eighth graders are college ready in the sciences.
This report looks at science instruction innovations brought forth at four K-12 schools. Through a combination of grants and support from non-profit groups, these schools were able to expand science learning in the classroom using inquiry-based methods. The motivation behind increased science learning is two-fold: on average, science class instruction was cut by 75 minutes (33 percent) from pre-NCLB levels, and students that engage with inquiry-based learning score 16 points higher on NAEP Science than those who don’t.
This article brings attention to city teachers’ concerns they lack the resources and time to teach science. Due to a redoubling of focus on ELA and math during the NCLB era, many elementary school teachers have left science instruction on the backburner, use their own funds to acquire supplies, and lack outright science training themselves. From the article: “Only 10% of elementary students regularly receive hands-on science lessons, the report found.
This study carefully lays out the reasons STEM is not a supply issue, but a demand issue. Many STEM educated workers pursue higher-paying careers in finance and management—even though STEM jobs pay high above the average for college-educated workers.
(The migration of math and engineering students toward very high paying financial services jobs demanding number crunching skills has been well-told.) The influx of foreign students pursuing STEM education has been blamed by some for a crowding out effect, displacing would-be American STEM workers and graduates—17 percent of STEM workers are foreign-born, compared to the overall workforce average of 12 percent, while 59 percent of PhD recipients in engineering programs in 2009 were foreign-born. Whether foreign nationals are pushing U.S. STEM candidates out or filling in holes due to low domestic interest in the fields is an unresolved debate.
This blog post summarizes research findings on the extent to which science instruction has been cut in the era of NCLB. The answer? 75 minutes a week, according to a 2008 study.
This article highlights a school operating out of the University of North Carolina State that is one of several K-12 institutions focusing specifically on project-based STEM learning. While some of the top—and most selective—high schools have been science-based, the UNC State school and others are reaching out to low-income and minority students. The North Carolina school’s curriculum is shaped by The National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century, which stress instruction that combines science exploration with other core subjects.
For example, students read Lord of the Flies and were then tasked with coming up with science-based survival guides.
“Does increased teacher knowledge and improved instruction result in better student learning in STEM?” The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future “found the answer from published research especially promising in mathematics, and our expert panel confirmed this by drawing upon many unpublished local results.”
Engaging Students’ Interest, Not Just Offering Advanced Classes, Best Promotes Interest in STEM Careers
This study found that “student interest and self-confidence in science and math in high school are strongly associated with students continuing STEM studies through college,” more so than achievement factors. Consistent with the fifteen-year trend in favor of inquiry-based learning, “teacher emphasis on further study in STEM has a positive association with persisting in STEM fields,” while lectures and emphasis on facts and rules were negatively associated.
This ACT overview tracks student readiness for core subjects at the college level, even evaluating eighth grade preparedness. It offers breakdowns by demographics, gender, and socio-economics, and demonstrates subject readiness based on whether students took four, three, or fewer years of classes for a particular core subject
Advanced Placement test results over time show more and more students are taking advanced STEM courses in high school, with the percentage of students passing going down in the process. Since 2001, the number of students taking an AP science test grew from 134,669 to 2011’s 313,452, while the pass rate going down from 57 percent to 49 percent. In math, test takers jumped in number from 166,624 to 330,296, with the pass rate dropping 63 to 58 percent.
A View from the Gatekeepers: STEM Department Chairs at America’s Top 200 Research Universities on Female and Underrepresented Minority Undergraduate STEM Students
This survey demonstrates that while 82 percent of science department heads at U.S. universities believe females are the most academically prepared for STEM courses (compared to 74 percent who felt the same way about majority students), few are earning degrees in the field. The survey asked 200 science department heads a range of questions related to minority outreach, expectations of increased participation among women, and scores of other demographic-tinged inquiries.
One explanation for the dearth of female STEM graduates is the perception that men are better suited for the sciences. This study finds females are less confident than males in math and science courses; are likely to feel they must outperform males to gain equal footing; and are more likely to view their talents in a negative light even if their scores are on par with that of males.
This team of Rutgers researchers determined that from high school to college, and then college to career advancement in STEM, production in the STEM pipeline has either remained steady or improved since the 1970s. This report counters a Georgetown University study chronicling the attrition rate of STEM-capable students at the K-12 level all the way through mid-career placement.
This overview of women in STEM lays out the major trends in employment, pay, job retention, types of degrees earned, and so on. A look at the STEM workforce shows the percentage of females employed in science and technology positions is half of the overall share of women in the workplace. 24 percent of the STEM jobs are filled by women.
Lending credence to the notion there’s no lack of STEM talent, but a lack of demand for that talent, about 40 percent (2.7 million) of men and 26 percent (0.6 million) of women with STEM degrees work in STEM-related jobs, according to these 2009 federal figures.
This publication tries to explain how students learn about science. The authors draw on work from neuroscience and classroom observation, providing a detailed account of what K-8 students are capable of learning. Some of the questions it answers include: “How can teachers be taught to teach science?” “When do children begin to learn about science? Are there critical stages in a child’s development of such scientific concepts as mass or animate objects?” “What role does nonschool learning play in children’s knowledge of science?”
This is a history of the National Science Foundation, providing interesting and little-mentioned nuggets on the federal government’s involvement in establishing rigorous lab research facilities after World War II and early efforts to train science teachers at the high school level. One eye-catcher in particular: Federal officials were worried that the uptick in college science students and graduates through the G.I. Bill would overwhelm laboratory supplies, creating an impetus to provide new lab equipment for a generation of science students.
And, even before Sputnik, Congress encouraged NSF to offer science workshops to high school teachers.