Every Fall, ACT releases comprehensive reports on the college readiness of the graduating class. One of the reports focuses specifically on STEM-related fields and is titled ‘The Condition of STEM 2016’. For those of us working in STEM education, the report offers good insights as we review and update our goals for our students moving into 2017.

Here are a few highlights from the report:

  1. Between 2012 and 2016, the percent of students interested in STEM has remained the same.
  2. Only 26% of the 2 million students that took the ACT meet the ACT’s College Readiness STEM benchmark. This number is much lower for African American (5%) and Hispanic (13%) populations as well as for females (21%).
  3. For those interested in Science careers/majors, the three most popular focus areas are General Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics, and Marine/Aquatic Biology.
  4. For those interested in Computer Science and Mathematics, the three most popular focus areas are Computer Science and Programming, Computer and Information Sciences, and Computer Software and Media Application.
  5. For those interested in Medical Health, the three most popular focus areas are Nursing, Registered (BS/RN), Medicine (Pre-Medicine), and Physical Therapy (Pre-Physical Therapy).
  6. For those interested in Engineering and Technology, the three most popular focus areas are Mechanical Engineering, Engineering (Pre-Engineering), General, and Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineering.

You can view the entire report here – including information specific to your state. From the above data, it is clear that much work remains to boost student interest and readiness in STEM – especially among underrepresented populations. So we all have our work cut out for us!

I plan to use the student interest information to guide the type of new Career Role Models we add to the Couragion App. I also plan to review this report each year to see how we are progressing on STEM-related benchmarks with our high school graduates. How can you use this data to influence your STEM teaching goals?

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