STEM education

6 ways to bolster STEM education for the future

Posted in Blog on 22 September 2016

A new report draws on expert work to outline the ideal path for STEM education in the next 10 years.

The ideal future of U.S. STEM education would emphasize problem-solving, interdisciplinary approaches and the value of discovery and play, according to a new 10-year vision from the American Institutes for Research for the U.S. Department of Education’s STEM Initiatives Team.

The report, STEM 2026, pulls from the work of experts in science, technology, engineering and math, and the authors point out that current conditions do not ensure equal access to STEM teaching and learning.

“Presently, policies and practices that ensure equitable access to the best STEM teaching and learning are not widespread,” according to the report. “The nation’s persistent inequities in access, participation, and success in STEM subjects that exist along racial, socioeconomic, gender, and geographic lines, as well as among students with disabilities, are therefore concerning and problematic. STEM education disparities threaten the nation’s ability to close education and poverty gaps, meet the demands of a technology-driven economy, ensure national security, and maintain preeminence in scientific research and technological innovation.”

Recent results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, for example, show that 43 percent of white students and 61 percent of Asian students score at the proficient level in eighth-grade math, compared to 19 percent of Hispanic students and 13 percent of black students. Eighth-grade students with disabilities and students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch scored nearly 30 points below their peers in science and mathematics; English learners scored nearly 40 and 50 points below their peers in these two subjects.

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