Why is STEM Important?

17 Mar


STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) skills are increasingly necessary to engage in a knowledge-based economy and in daily decision-making. There is solid evidence to suggest that the fastest-growing and highest-wage jobs in future years will be in STEM fields. Workers in these fields must use STEM skills for problem solving in a wide range of industries. However, as the need for solid STEM skills is growing, the achievement gap is also growing. California lags other states in math and science proficiency ratings, and the nation as a whole falls behind many of its international peers.  A STEM based education needs to begin at the elementary level and continue throughout the high school years.  The following contains starting statics about science, technology, engineering and math in the California and the United States!

  • In OECD’s PISA 2009 rankings of international secondary education performance, the United States ranked 32nd (slightly below the international average) in Mathematics and 23rd (at about the international average) in Science. (Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development)
  • A World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey in 2008 and 2009 ranked the quality of Math and Science education in the United States in 48th place. (World Economic Forum)
  • In 2008, STEM-related degrees and completions accounted for 12% of all higher education degrees and completions. (California Postsecondary Education Commission)
  • The United States has fallen from first to eleventh place in the OECD in the fraction 25-34 year olds that has graduated high school. The older portion of the U.S. workforce ranks first among OECD populations of the same age. (OECD, 2009)
  • According to the ACT College Readiness report, 78 percent of high school graduates did not meet the readiness benchmark levels for one or more entry-level college courses in mathematics, science, reading and English. (American College Testing – ACT)
  • Sixty-nine percent of United States public school students in fifth through eighth grade are taught mathematics by a teacher without a degree or certificate in mathematics. (National Center for Educational Statistics)
  • Ninety-three percent of United States public school students in fifth through eighth grade are taught the physical sciences by a teacher without a degree or certificate in the physical sciences. (National Center for Educational Statistics)
  • 75% of the 50 fastest growing occupations in California require STEM skills with 70% of these jobs paying more than the state’s median wage of $18.12/hour. (Labor Market Information Division, Employment Development Department)
  • California ranked 43rd or lower across all states in mathematics and science proficiency in grades 4 and 8 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2005).


1 Comment

Posted by on March 17, 2012 in Articles, Resources


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One response to “Why is STEM Important?

  1. Charnes

    December 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Hello! I’m looking for statistics specific to STEAM education. I’m finding a lot of statistics regarding STEM, but not related to STEAM. Are the two terms considered interchangeable where numbers and stats are concerned?


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