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Education

Metrics Identified For Science Education

by Andrea Widener
November 26, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 48

The U.S. should develop a national science education monitoring system to help federal, state, and local governments determine whether schools are improving, according to a report by the National Research Council. Current assessments of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education focus on administration or enrollment data, but the NRC report suggests a shift in focus to statistics that measure whether students are learning. A monitoring system focused on teaching and learning will help educators and policymakers “better understand and improve national, state, and local STEM education for all students,” the report says. It lays out 14 indicators of success in STEM education. Of these, six are immediate priorities, including monitoring the amount of K–5 school time allocated to science, whether local districts adopt national science standards and curricula, and the number of STEM teachers trained in the field. Most of the data needed for these indicators are already—or could be—available through the National Center for Education Statistics surveys, it adds. The report follows up on the 2011 NRC recommendations for improvements to nationwide STEM education.

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