About the STEM Education Conference
The U.S. is falling increasingly behind in its ability to educate and train the next generation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and technology experts. Employers are observing declining abilities in math and science among the applicant pool. The STEM Education Conference Series at VMI seeks to attract students, educators, state and local policy makers, as well as business and military leaders from across the commonwealth and beyond. Join a conversation that isn't happening anywhere else!
Conference Series Dates:
- 2012 1-3 October
- 2013 8-10 October
- 2014 6-8 October
Student Math & Science Preparedness in the U.S.
- High school graduation rates rank near the bottom among developed nations.
- American secondary student performance varies from mediocre to poor.
- 30% of all first year college students are placed immediately into remedial courses.
- The gap between most- and least-proficient U.S. students is among highest.
Overall in STEM, the U.S. ranks 21st of 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Development and 25th of 30 in mathematics literacy.
- Science: 24.4% of all 15 year olds do not reach baseline level of achievement required to use science and technology in life situations
- Mathematics: 28.1% of all 15 year olds in the U.S. perform below the baseline level of mathematics proficiency required to use mathematics actively in daily life
Over the past 10 years, the percentage of ACT-tested students interested in:
- Engineering has fallen from 7.6% to 4.9%
- Information Technology has dropped from 4.5% to 2.9%
Virginia Student Preparedness in 2007:
- Only 37% of 8th grade students score “at or Above Proficiency” in Math
- Only 45% of high school graduates are ready for college level algebra.
- Only 29% of high school graduates are ready for college level biology
- The U.S. is experiencing a critical shortage of highly qualified math & science teachers – projected to reach 283,000 in the coming years.
- There is a “revolving door” of STEM teachers moving out of the classroom to higher salaried careers in the private sector.
- Virginia Teacher Preparedness in 2007:
o 16% of all middle level science and math teachers weren’t math/science certified.
o 22% of high school chemistry teachers did not have chemistry certification.
o 10% of high school math teachers did not have math certification.
What can be done to remediate the problem?
- Early Interest: Students most likely to major in STEM fields and graduate are those who develop interest in STEM careers early and take the right preparatory classes.
- More opportunities for teacher development, including best practices.
- Rewarding teachers for obtaining STEM certificates.
- Partnerships with industry.
- Authentic teaching problems for teachers with more examples of the use of STEM, interpretation, and evaluation.
- Quality professional development in children’s engineering and design technology
- Resources for teachers to integrate, not add on, engineering approaches to support their instruction.