Data for most of these 14 indicators are, or could be, available through existing surveys administered by the National Center for Education Statistics, although those data sources have limitations that should be considered in light of the goals of the proposed monitoring system. Several of the indicators require new kinds of data collection, changes in the frequency of data collection, or additional research and conceptual development.
A monitoring and reporting system designed around these indicators would be unique in its focus on key aspects of teaching and learning and could enable education leaders, researchers, and policy makers to better understand and improve national, state, and local STEM education for all students. Congress, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education could take the following steps to create such a system:
• Determine whether to create a dedicated survey or use existing federal surveys to collect data on the proposed indicators.
• More fully develop Indicators 1-14, for example, by more precisely defining what the indicators include, identifying what constitutes quality for each indicator, and identifying the most appropriate sources of data.
• Compile, analyze, and report on data that already exist.
• Modify existing surveys or create new data collection mechanisms to yield the needed information.
• Produce regular reports on K-12 STEM education that analyze progress toward the indicators and goals for STEM education.
• Engage stakeholders in discussions of the development of the indicators, their results, and their ongoing utility.