Explaining Results of Science Experiments Proves Challenging for Students

When testing fourth-, eighth- and twelfth-grade students on their ability to conduct science experiments and thoughtfully explain the results, investigators made three key discoveries that policymakers say may be troubling for future workforce needs. The National Center for Education Statistics Science in Action report found that when using limited data sets, students could make straightforward observations on the data. However, most struggled to explain the results and were challenged by parts of investigations that contained more variables to manipulate or involved strategic decisionmaking.

Around the World in TBED

Governments of advanced economies are starting to believe as the 21st century advances significant opportunities for their technology-based product and service sectors will emerge from increasingly open, competitive and affluent global markets. To compete in this changing world, they are looking to expand access to capital for startups and entrepreneurs, support their research and development (R&D) infrastructure and address weaknesses in their national economies. Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) are among those that recently have announced initiatives or released reports intended to strength their national innovation economy.

Report Contends Irrational and Undirected Immigration Polices Hurt U.S. Competitiveness

U.S. immigration policies are irrational and undirected according to a new report from the Partnership for a New American Economy and Partnership for New York City — Not Coming To America: Why the U.S. is Falling Behind in the Global Race for Talent. In sharp contrast, to attract immigrants that drive economic growth and increase international competitiveness, foreign countries have adopted targeted and strategic policies that include:

NH Institutions Commit to Increasing STEM Grads 50 Percent by 2020

New Hampshire's University System and Community College System recently committed to increasing the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates 50 percent by 2020, and then doubling that number by 2025. Currently, the two systems together graduate about 1,120 STEM students each year. Specific steps include the creation of new transfer pathways, cross-institutional sharing of facilities, staff and faculty and partnerships with the state's employers.

Iowa Governor Announces Statewide STEM Network

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad announced the first major initiative of the Governor's STEM Advisory Council, a public-private partnership of six regional STEM network hubs to promote STEM education and economic development. Each of the hubs will be housed at one of the state's universities or community colleges, and will coordinate local programs with businesses, nonprofits and other institutions in their regions. The six winning hub applications are available online and lay out the hubs' individual approaches to elevating the quality of STEM education and matching efforts with the needs of local employers.

Additional Higher Ed Funding to Support Research, STEM Efforts in Virginia

To help meet the goals of Virginia's Top Jobs Act enacted earlier this year, Gov. Bob McDonnell proposed $200 million in additional higher education funding over the next two years. A large portion of the new funds would support cancer and high-tech research, competitive research grant awards, and efforts to graduate more science, technology, engineering, mathematics and healthcare (STEM-H) majors. The Top Jobs Act outlines a plan for achieving an additional 100,000 undergraduate degrees over the next 15 years through a new higher education funding policy, targeted economic and innovation incentives, and the creation of a STEM public-private partnership. In accordance with the legislation, the state's colleges and universities completed six-year plans identifying initiatives to help meet those objectives.

WA Gov's $9.8M Workforce Plan Supports University Research, Engineering Grads

Gov. Chris Gregoire outlined a series of proposals to boost Washington's competitiveness in the aerospace sector, including support for university research and funding to expand high school workforce curriculum and enroll more university students in engineering fields. By investing in education, research, and expanding tax incentives, Gov. Gregoire hopes Boeing will select the state to build and manufacture its 737 MAX, which the governor calls a once-in-a-generation opportunity expected to support up to 20,000 jobs. The $9.8 million plan centers on enhancements to the state's education system to ensure a prepared and skilled workforce. Proposals include:

Five-Year Effort Seeks to Measure, Improve Quality of STEM Teaching

The Association of American Universities (AAU) will undertake a five-year initiative to assess and improve the quality of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning focused on the first two years of college. Specifically, the group will create a demonstration program at a subset of AAU universities to implement its framework and develop tools to survey and assess the quality of teaching, the extent to which effective teaching methods are being used, and the effects of improved teaching on retention of STEM majors and completion of STEM degrees. The group plans to work with federal agencies, individual universities and the business community. Read the announcement...

Temple University Launches Pennsylvania Math Engineering Science Achievement Initiative

Temple launched the Pennsylvania Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) initiative designed to increase the number of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematics (STEM)-related professionals graduating from two- or four-year institutions and to build a diverse, national STEM workforce necessary to compete economically in a global environment.

Arkansas Governor Announces $2.7 Million STEM Education Pilot Program

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and the state's Workforce Cabinet announced a $2.7 million pilot program — STEM Works — focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in high schools. STEM Works will be made up of two components. The first component will focus on overhauling the state's STEM curriculum at the high school level to better prepare high school graduates to pursue college degrees in STEM disciplines. The second component — UTeach — will attempt to attract qualified college graduates to become STEM educators.


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