Indicators for Monitoring Undergraduate STEM Education

December 14, 2017

Mark Connolly, Principal Investigator of the NSF-funded Longitudinal Study of Future STEM Scholars, is a committee member of the Board on Science and Education at The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Committee recently released this report:

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals generate a stream of discoveries and innovations that fuel job creation and national economic growth. Undergraduate STEM education prepares these professionals while teaching all students knowledge and skills that are useful across a range of jobs and in civic life. 

However, many capable students who intend to major in these fields switch to another field or drop out of higher education altogether—in part because of documented weaknesses in teaching, learning, and supports for students in STEM fields. While various initiatives are now under way to improve the quality of undergraduate STEM education, policy makers and the public do not know whether these initiatives are accomplishing their goals and leading to nationwide progress. 

This report identifies a set of national-level indicators to measure the status and quality of undergraduate STEM education over multiple years. The report—which was developed by a study committee of STEM faculty, administrators, education researchers, and economists—also identifies types of data that will need to be collected in order to put the indicators to use, along with possible strategies to gather this data. 
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