Monday, February 4, 2013

Where are the STEM Students? What are their Career Interests? Where are the STEM Jobs?”

STEM Connector released , “Where are the STEM Students? What are their Career Interests? Where are the STEM Jobs?” (Get an executive summary here. The full 200+ page tome is for sale in the STEMConnector bookstore.)The report offers tantalizing new national and state-level data on how many students from different backgrounds are interested in STEM careers. It also cites previously published data on trends in STEM jobs.

Some Highlights
  • High school girls’ interest in STEM seems to be falling, even as interest among boys rises. The data suggests that girls’ interest in STEM peaked in the class of 2010 and has been dropping off since. This comes in direct contrast to the trend for boys, who have been showing more interest with every successive graduating class. This will come as bad news for all of us who have been working to get more girls into STEM
  • Students with a “B” average in high school are much less interested in STEM than those with a C average or less. Why would that be? Are we paying too little attention to good students even as we lavish attention on great students? The A students are most interested, which isn’t surprising.
  • Those who aim to go to technical or vocational school are much more likely to be interested in STEM careers than those who have set their sights on other kinds of colleges. Nearly four in ten students with plans for technical or vocational school are interested in STEM, compared to fewer than three in ten students who aspire to private colleges, for example. This is just another reminder that we should never minimize the value of technical school as we sing the praises of college.
  • Students with an interest in STEM are much less likely than their peers to express interest in child care or development. We still have work to do to get STEM students interested in teaching.
The report breaks out its student interest data by race, ethnicity and gender, STEM discipline, STEM occupation, and a number of other categories.