types of schools that deliver STEM education in the United States, looking both at research on each type and a few example schools. Chapter 3 addresses the research on practices and approaches to science and mathematics education, and Chapter 4 explores research on school conditions that support effective STEM education. The closing chapter summarizes the major points that emerged from the workshop discussion, with a focus on goals for translating the next generation of standards (both for the Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards) into curricula, professional development programs, and assessments. Future research needs also were discussed. Following the list of references are four appendices. Appendix A provides the agendas for the workshop held May 10-12, 2011. Appendix B presents a list of registered workshop participants. Papers commissioned for the workshop are listed in Appendix C, and biographical sketches of committee members can be found in Appendix D.
STEM education has many potential benefits for individuals and for the nation as a whole, Norman Augustine explained in an opening presentation. One factor that sets it apart from other branches of academic study for many policy makers is that literacy in STEM subjects is important both for the personal well-being of each citizen and for the nation’s competitiveness in the global economy. Various studies, Augustine explained, show that between 50 and 85 percent of growth in the U.S. gross domestic product over the past 50 years was accounted for by advancements in science and engineering. He also noted that the U.S. Commission on National Security, which issued its report early in 2001, highlighted the two greatest threats facing the country as terrorism on U.S. soil and “the failure to properly manage our educational system and our investments in research.”
Rising Above the Gathering Storm (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, 2007), which reviewed the factors that influence U.S. competitiveness, highlighted the critical importance of STEM education in its recommendations. Drawing on a recent update of that report (National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, 2010), Augustine described a few of the reasons why the United States needs to improve STEM education. “We like to think of America as being first in everything,” he noted. But, for example, the United States ranks 6th among developed nations in innovation-based competitiveness, 11th in percentage of young adults who have graduated from high school, 15th in science literacy among top students, and 28th in mathematics literacy among top students.