Condition of STEM

ACT Releases 2017 Report on The Condition of STEM

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This week, our partner ACT released their 2017 edition of The Condition of STEM report.

Using comprehensive data gathered from the U.S. high school graduating class of 2017, ACT compiles and organizes the report in order to analyze the current landscape of student interest and achievement in STEM. The report is designed to assist stakeholders - such as educational organizations and industry-leaders -  to better understand this landscape and drive their own efforts to improve educational and workplace success.

This year’s report highlights several key findings and trends; some encouraging and some worrisome. For example, ACT’s data reveals that the oft-referenced STEM gender gap continues to persist. It also finds that physical geography plays a critical role in STEM achievement; a phenomenon we delved into last month.

However, for each of these areas of concern, ACT features “promising practices” gleaned from states, nonprofits, businesses and other organizations who are committed to making a difference. One such practice featured is the 100kin10  designed to address the critical shortage of STEM teachers in our nation’s schools.

The report concludes by providing several policy recommendations to be considered by government leaders, such as establishing loan-forgiveness programs for STEM educators.

In addition to the overall report, The Condition of STEM is also examined on a state-by-state basis. In fact, these are the same reports which we reference in our state spotlight blog series; New York was our most recent!

As part of our collaboration with ACT in compiling the 2017 Condition of STEM, each state report contains an example of a STEM Premier student user residing there.

This year’s report is yet another example of ACT’s commitment to driving STEM success in the U.S.

ACT Releases Condition of STEM 2016 Report

A new year brings with it new resolutions, new opportunities, and new challenges.

It also brings new insights.

Recently, our friends at ACT released the 2016 edition of their National Condition of STEM Report.

The report compiles data from the nationwide administration of the ACT® test to the high school graduating class of 2016 - taken by a record 64% of students - along with it’s accompanying ACT Interest Inventory, which measures each ACT test taker’s interest in different educational and occupational areas.

The Interest Inventory provides an opportunity for ACT to quantify the expressed interests of students (those which the students specifically identify themselves) in these areas as well as measured interests (based on answers to the Inventory’s questions). The results allow ACT to determine levels of interest in STEM fields as well as to compare the college readiness levels between these subsets of students.

So what did ACT find out in their Condition of STEM 2016 Report? Here are some of the highlights:

  • Students with an interest in STEM continue to show higher levels of college readiness than ACT-tested students as a whole.
  • Approximately half (48%) of ACT-tested U.S. graduates in the class of 2016 have expressed interest in STEM majors and careers. This level of interest has remained steady over the past five years.
  • Under-served learners have a high interest in STEM, but ACT STEM benchmark attainment lags far behind their peers.

Perhaps one of the most concerning stats from this year’s report is that only 1,258 students (less than 1% of the 2.1 million tested) had both an expressed and measured interest in becoming a math or science teacher. The lack of students interested in teaching STEM subjects to younger generations presents an alarming paradox for the future of STEM education in the U.S., and makes initiatives such as the 100Kin10 Network necessary.

Like we said, new years always bring new challenges. But STEM Premier and ACT are at the ready to transform these challenges into opportunities for today’s students and tomorrow’s professionals.

Read ACT’s National Condition of STEM 2016 Report.