Five Questions to Ask: STEM Education
- Look at the engineering school at the universities that you cover. Have their enrollment numbers been rising or declining?What their graduation rates and job placement rates?Try to examine how these schools have fared recently with regard to issues of STEM supply or demand, that is, have they been able to enough students interested in majoring in engineering and have those graduates been able to get jobs?
- How are science courses taught at the schools in your district?
Do they focus primarily on textbook-based reading and homework assignments or do they emphasize laboratory experiments and project-based learning? Some research has shown that students who learn science through hands-on projects score better on science tests.
- How has your district’s science program been affected by budget cuts? Has the district reduced class time for science in order to emphasize English and math, which are crucial to meeting No child Left Behind’s adequate yearly progress requirements?
- How many students in your district’s high schools take Advanced Placement tests in sciences or math? How have they fared on these tests, and how have these scores changed over the years? Why?
- Look at the science offerings for the community colleges you cover. How have their offerings changed over the years, and have such changes been influenced by the workforce needs of employers in your region?