Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Official Launch of National STEM Students & STEM Jobs Report

Official Launch of National STEM Students & STEM Jobs Report

Washington, DC and Lee’s Summit, MO — Today STEMconnector® and My College Options® release a national report linking student interest in STEM education with STEM job opportunities. The new report — Where are the STEM Students? What are their Career Interests? Where are the STEM Jobs? — identifies the STEM interests of more than one million U.S. high school students interested in pursuing STEM careers, and links them to increasing demand for over 16 million STEM jobs by 2018. It also provides in-depth profiles of more than one million students interested in STEM majors and careers with breakouts for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report is designed to motivate students interested in STEM careers by providing a breakdown of “hot” STEM jobs, salary figures, and a projection of the future STEM job market.
STEMconnector® and My College Options® will host a Town Hall discussion on the Report and officially release the publication on January 30, 2013 at the American Association of University Women (AAUW) headquarters in Washington, D.C. at 3:00 pm EST. The event will also be hosted online via WebEx. To register please visit Digital and printed versions of the report will be available for purchase, as well as a free executive summary, available now at My College Options Vice-President, Ryan Munce notes, “The career interests and demographic profile of over one million students interested in STEM is a critical piece of information for the STEM pipeline.” Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnector® concludes, “STEM jobs are among the highest paying and fastest growing in the United States, we must know where the jobs are, and excite and encourage students to pursue STEM degrees and careers, armed with skill sets to fill and grow where the jobs are.”
Highlights of the STEM Student/Jobs Report
Where are the STEM Students? The report documents how STEM interest has been continually rising in high-school students since 2004, and an astounding 25% of all high-school students currently have an interest in STEM majors and careers. Since the graduating class of 2004, overall interest in STEM majors and careers among high school seniors has increased by over 20%. Arguably the most concerning trend with students interested in STEM is the increasing gender-gap. Nationally, about 14.5% of female students express STEM as compared to 39.6% for their male counterparts. Since 2011, interest in STEM courses has grown and is projected to continue rising for Asian, Hispanic, American Indian and White students. The Southern region of the US has the highest concentration (36%) of students interested in STEM topics.
What are their Career Interests by STEM Discipline? In 2012, Mechanical Engineering (20.4%) was the most popular major or career choice among STEM-interested students, while Biology was second at 11.9%. American Indian students are the most likely to be interested in Engineering, compared to students of other ethnic groups. Female students are significantly more likely to be interested in the STEM majors/careers of Biology, Chemistry, Marine Biology and Science. Engineering and Technology interest are on the rise, while interest in Science and Mathematics has decreased over the past few years.
Where are the STEM Jobs? In 2012, the US STEM workforce surpassed 7.4 million workers and it is expected to grow significantly through 2018, to an estimated 8.65 million workers. These numbers (7.4 million and 8.65 million) don’t reflect people who are “self employed” in STEM fields. If “self employed” is included the number of people employed in STEM fields in 2012 was 14.9 million, and is projected to reach 15.68 million by 2018.
Types of STEM Jobs: In 2012, accountants and auditors comprised the largest number of STEM-related jobs in the US with over 1.66 million, a number that is projected to increase to 1.78 million by 2016. Currently the manufacturing sector faces a large shortage of employees with STEM skills. Alarmingly, 600,000 manufacturing jobs are going unfilled in spite of current economic conditions.
New STEM Job Areas: Between 2011 and 2015, an estimated 1.7 million jobs will be created in cloud computing in North America. Another noteworthy increase in STEM jobs has come courtesy of mobile application (“apps”) technology, which has fostered an estimated 311,000 jobs in the “app economy.” By 2018, the bulk of STEM jobs will be in Computing (71%) followed by traditional Engineering (16%), Physical Sciences (7%), Life Sciences (4%) and Mathematics (2%).
Data & Sources
The student data used in this report is drawn primarily from My College Options’ annual survey of 5.5 million high school students, which covers 95% of U.S. high schools. The data for the STEM employment outlook and projections comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), and was compiled by The Alliance for Science & Technology Research in America (ASTRA). The report was made possible through the generous support of Cisco.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hands-On Achievement: Why Massachusetts Vocational Technical Schools Have Low Dropout Rates," Interesting article

"Vocational-technical high schools across Massachusetts have dramatically cut dropout rates, but school district-run voc-techs should be granted greater autonomy if they are to replicate the outstanding academic and student retention performance of their more independent regional counterparts, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

In "Hands-On Achievement: Why Massachusetts Vocational Technical Schools Have Low Dropout Rates," authors Alison L. Fraser and William Donovan note that a blue-ribbon panel appointed by Mayor Thomas Menino on Boston's in-district voc tech, Madison Park, also recommended greater autonomy.

"The needs and responsibilities of vocational-technical students are unique," said David Ferreira, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators.  "It only makes sense for schools to have the freedom to set policies and procedures customized to those students."

An average of about 10,000 Massachusetts students dropped out annually over the past decade.  In 2011, the dropout rate at the commonwealth's comprehensive high schools was 2.8 percent. 

But the average was 1.6 percent at voc-tech schools and just 0.9 percent at regional voc-techs.  The voc-tech dropout rate has been at least 1 percentage point beneath that for comprehensive high schools for more than 15 years.  More than 60 percent of voc-tech students go on to post-secondary education.

The lower dropout rates come despite voc-techs educating a higher percentage of at-risk students.  Statewide, 17 percent of students are in special education, while the number is 24 percent at the voc-techs.  The voc-tech special education graduation rate of 82 percent is nearly 20 percentage points higher than that of comprehensive high schools.

One reason Fraser identifies for voc-techs' success is a schedule of alternating weeks of academic and trade education, which makes it easier for students to envision themselves in a career.

After a semester of exploring up to 10 career and technical majors, the alternating academic/technical schedule allows teachers to work with 10-15 students all day for a week at a time, which fosters more nurturing mentor relationships.  In addition to being licensed by the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), voc-tech teachers must also have at least three-to-five years of training in the field of their licensure.

Since voc-tech students hone their skills through repetition that can only be practiced at school, it's no surprise that the schools have found a high correlation between high attendance and low dropout rates.  At Shawsheen Valley Technical High School, a corrective action plan is developed for any student whose attendance rate dips below 90 percent.
Some Massachusetts vocational-technical high school buildings are over 50 years old.  The authors call on the Legislature to approve a five year, $5 million bond authorization filed by the Patrick administration to help the schools upgrade laboratories and equipment.

The report also recommends that, "The administration and Department of Elementary & Secondary Education should work with practitioners to support a customized public relations campaign to bring attention to the successes of vocational technical schools in the Commonwealth."

Alison L. Fraser is an education policy, research and strategy consultant, and president of Practical Policy; she is also a part-time administrator at Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical School. William Donovan is a former staff writer with the Providence Journal, and has taught business journalism in the graduate programs at Boston University and Northeastern University.

Browse Pioneer's related research and analysis on vocational education: Vocational-Technical Education in Massachusetts (October 2008) also authored by Alison L. Fraser; a series of blog posts by Jim Stergios featuring video interviews of vocational-technical school leaders here, here, here, here, and here; and a Fall River Herald News op-ed in support of expanding vocational education here."

(This is not a NU publication)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Applying New Research to Improve Science Education - CARL WIEMAN

Article you might find of interest...Applying New Research to Improve Science Education

Insights from several fields on how people learn to become experts can help us to dramatically enhance the effectiveness of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.