STEM education prepares students in competencies and skills in four disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math). STEM teachers use sequences that build upon each other and (most often) are applied with real-world applications. STEM classrooms are project-based, hands-on and build a love of life-long learning. A simple observation of a STEM class illuminates how effective, creative, rigorous, and dynamic the learning and creative process can be. Students are encouraged and celebrated for being curious, asking questions, and making connections as to why the world exists as it does.
Project-based learning facilitates critical thinking, increases literacy, and prepares the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. STEM education plays a critical role in enabling the U.S. to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace of the 21st century. Innovation leads to new ideas and entrepreneurship that sustain our economy.
U.S. student achievement in mathematics and science is lagging behind students in much of Asia and Europe. International test scores tell us that in science U.S. eighth-graders were outperformed by eighth-grade students in Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong SAR, Estonia, Japan, Hungary, and Netherlands.
In math, U.S. eighth-graders were outperformed by their peers in 14 countries: Singapore, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong SAR, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Belgium, Netherlands, Estonia, Hungary, Malaysia, Latvia, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, and Australia.
The 2010 ACT College and Career Readiness report found only 29% of the tested 2010 graduates are considered college-ready in science and 43% are considered college-ready in math. It is clear that our students need better preparation in math and science in addition to social and emotional well-being.