Be The Change We Want To See

Here is a recent interview the Founder of FIRST robotics did that does a great job of underscoring why we need to be the change we want to see.  “You get the best of what you celebrate” Dean says, and in this county he points out that “very few kids have role models outside of the NFL, NBA and Hollywood.”  Dean then goes on to share the results of his recent trip to Asia where the Chinese have decided to put FIRST teams in every one of their schools.

Think about what that will do to the US’s global tech leadership when a few million FIRST graduates per year are moving into Chinese business and finding a way to solve the worlds problems.

What is the State of Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) in the United States?
Current Statistics on Education and the Workforce

U.S. Education and STEM:

  • The U.S. is ranked 20th out of 30 in high school graduation rates among industrialized nations.[1]
  • Standardized test scores from 30 nations rank 14-year-olds in the U.S. 25th in math and 21st in science.[2]
  • Only 1 in 17 children from lower income families (earning less than $35,000 a year) earn a bachelor’s degree by the age of 24.[3]
  • Compared to their U.S. counterparts, undergraduate students in other countries select natural science and engineering (NS&E) as their primary field of study at higher rates: 25% of undergraduates in the European Union, 47% in China, and 38% in South Korea chose an NS&E major, compared to only 16% of U.S. undergraduates.[4]
  • While the U.S. is the largest contributor of new doctorates in STEM,[5] approximately 33% of all doctoral students in STEM attending U.S. universities are foreign students on temporary visas, and 57% of U.S. postdoctoral fellows in STEM fields hold temporary visas.[6]
  • Results from the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test found that the U.S. performed below average in mathematics in 2012 and is ranked 26th among the 34 OECD countries. U.S. students performed weakly in formulating real world problems into mathematics, establishing mathematical models, interpreting real world aspects of a problem, reasoning in geometric context and in mathematical literacy.[7]
  • In December 2011, the National Governors Association issued a report identifying two goals of a national STEM education agenda: (1) to expand the number of students prepared to enter postsecondary education in STEM, and (2) to increase the proficiency of all students in basic STEM knowledge.[8]

Summary: The U.S. is losing ground to other nations in providing STEM education for our youth. Generally, U.S. students have lower scores in math and science literacy and are less likely to pursue college degrees and careers in STEM than their international counterparts.

STEM data 4 STEM data 2 STEM data 1 STEM data 3 STEM data 5

The U.S. STEM Workforce:

  • STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17% from 2008-2018; non-STEM occupations are expected to grow by 9.8% during that same period in the U.S. according to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.[9]
  • By 2018, 92% of traditional STEM jobs will require some post-secondary education and training. 65% will require at least a bachelor’s degree or more.[10]
  • 17% of all STEM workers in the U.S. are foreign born (compared to 12% of all workers in the U.S. labor market as a whole.)[11]
  • “The U.S. defense and homeland security industries face challenges in filling some of the best and most critical technical jobs in our country because the U.S. is not producing enough graduates trained in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics who qualify for security clearances.”[12

Summary: Job growth is expected to continue through 2018 in the STEM fields. STEM jobs will require some knowledge of STEM concepts with the majority of STEM jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree or more in STEM.

 STEM data 7 STEM data 8 STEM data 9 STEM data 10 STEM data 11STEM data 6

 

So what do we do?

 

If we want to compete we will need create more STEM graduates.  If we want more kids to go into STEM we need to change what people celebrate, and give them the same opportunities to pursue their dreams that a basketball court gives an athlete.

  • If we want people to celebrate STEM the same way we celebrate sports and entertainment we need to change our culture.  Since this is no easy feat, we recommend starting small and local.  For example, after the state of Michigan decided to make robotics a state sports they saw an increase of 80 teams in a single year. Here is a great article from 2014 that talks about the impact the change had on the state.
  • If we want people to have the opportunity to pursue their STEM dreams they need to have the community resources available. Community machine shops, chemistry labs, biology labs, robotics practice spaces, etc.. are a few ways that local leaders could make STEM more accessible to all of their constituents.

What Inspires Students to Pursue College Majors in STEM?
A Brief Summary of Scholarly Research

Research has shown that by the time children reach fourth grade, a third of all students have lost interest in science, and by eighth grade nearly 50% of students have deemed science and technology as irrelevant to their future career
plans. [1] To effectively cultivate interest and ability in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related disciplines, interventions must occur early in a student’s career and continue throughout high school.[2]

Researchers have found a number of factors that are important to engaging and maintaining student interest in STEM. Among these are:

  • Using teaching strategies that have hands-on activities, are relevant to students, and mirror real-life problems increases interest in STEM.[3],[4] Making science “personal, local and relevant” leads to greater levels of interest in science.[5] Hands-on activities, relevant topics and cooperative learning strategies increase student engagement and interest in learning.[6],[7]
  • Research has shown that interest in careers, including those in STEM, starts in middle school.[8] Discussion about STEM careers in middle school is likely to increase student interest in STEM.[9]
  • Mentors who model what professionals do increase student interest in the STEM fields.[10],[11] The likelihood of pursuing a STEM degree increases when combining hands-on science experiences with mentorship, particularly for girls.[12],[13],[14]
  • Researchers have found that student intention to major in STEM is a stronger predictor of successful earning of STEM degrees than GPA or SAT scores.[15],[16],[17]
  • Cooperative learning (learning in groups) provides emotional bonding that can result in greater commitment to group goals; feelings of responsibility; willingness to take on difficult tasks; increased motivation, satisfaction and morale; willingness to listen to group members; and productivity.[18] Group learning and team work provide a richer learning experience.

FIRST programs use a combination of strategies that research has demonstrated lead to increased interest in STEM and knowledge about STEM concepts, and result in more students expressing a desire to attend college and have a STEM career. FIRST programs provide a fun and engaging challenge that has a connection to real-life issues, utilizes hands-on learning experiences where students, working on teams, experiment and actively learn while doing, and exposes students to careers through mentorship.

 

Does FIRST® Make a Difference?
FIRST and STEM Outcomes

The following summary highlights STEM outcomes from recent external evaluations conducted on FIRST programs
by Brandeis University:
A retrospective study with FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) Alumni (2005) compared to students from a national dataset found that FRC Alumni were:

  • significantly more likely to attend college on a full-time basis (88% vs. 53%), more likely to major in a science or engineering field (55% vs. 28%), and more than three times as likely to major specifically in engineering (41% vs. 13%) than a comparison of students from a national dataset
  • roughly 10 times as likely to have had an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op job in their freshman year (27% vs. 2.7%)
  • significantly more likely to expect to achieve a postgraduate degree, i.e., master’s degree or higher (77% vs. 69%)
  • more likely to expect to pursue a science or technology career (45% vs. 20%) or a career in engineering (31% vs 8%)

Findings from an impact evaluation on FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) (2013) include:

  • 89% of FLL participants have an interest in learning more about science and technology as a result of participating in FLL
  • 88% are more interested in going to college as a result of participating in FLL
  • 80% of those in the study are more interested in having a job that uses science and technology
  • Over 90% of participants in the study increased skills in teamwork, communication, time management, conflict resolution, and problem solving as a result of participating on an FLL team

Findings from a recent evaluation of FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) (2011) include:

  • The large majority of FTC and FRC participants have an interest in learning more about science and technology as a result of their participation on a FIRST team (95% of FTC and 97% of FRC)
  • 87% of FTC participants and 91% of FRC participants are more interested in going to college as a result of being on their FIRST team
  • 89% of FTC and 90% of FRC participants are more interested in having a career that uses science and technology
  • The large majority of both FTC and FRC team members (over 90%) indicate an increase in teamwork skills, problem solving, time management, and communication skills as a result of their experience on their FIRST team

Across programs, the vast majority of coaches and students report a strong, positive impact on student knowledge, interests, attitudes, and skills. Furthermore, after completing a FIRST program, the majority of students were more interested in pursuing STEM-related careers.

FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) Alumni (2005), compared to students from a national dataset.

STEM data 16 STEM data 15 STEM data 14 STEM data 13 STEM data 12

Evaluation of FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL)

STEM data 17

Evaluation of FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC ) and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC )

STEM data 21 STEM data 20 STEM data 19 STEM data 18

 

Please watch and share the above video.

And if you are as motivated as we are, help us change Montgomery County and make it the first county in Maryland to declare robotics a sport and be the change it wants to see!!!

References

What is the State of Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM) in the United States?
Current Statistics on Education and the Workforce

[1] National Science Board (May, 2010). Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators: Identifying and Developing Our Nation’s Human Capital. National Science Foundation. Available at http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/publications/2010/nsb1033.pdf.
[2] See supra note 1.
[3] National Academy of Science (2010). Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5. Report prepared for the Presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine. Available at http://download.nap.edu/cart/download.cgi?&record_id=12999 (free subscription required).
[4] See supra note 1.
[5] Thomasian, J. (Dec. 2011). Building a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education Agenda. National Governor’s Association. Available at http://www.nga.org/files/live/sites/NGA/files/pdf/1112STEMGUIDE.PDF.
[6] See supra note 1.
[7] OECD (2013), Lessons from PISA 2012 for the United States, Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education, OECD Publishing. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264207585-en.
[8] See supra note 3.
[9] U.S. Department of Commerce (July, 2011). STEM: Good Jobs Now and For the future. ESA Issue Brief #03-11. Available at http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED522129.pdf.
[10] Carnevale, Ap., Smith, N., Melton, M. (October, 2011). STEM. Washington DC: Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce. Available at https://georgetown.app.box.com/s/cyrrqbjyirjy64uw91f6.
[11] See supra note 10.
[12] Farrell, Lawrence P. Jr., (Ret), President & CEO, National Defense Industrial Association, Available at www.ndia.org/divisions/divisions/STEM.

What Inspires Students to Pursue College Majors in STEM?
A Brief Summary of Scholarly Research

[1] Stephens, R. Testimony to the House Science and Technology Committee, Subcommittee on Research and Science Education. February 4, 2010. Available at http://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/hearings/020410_Stephens.pdf.
[2] Cooper M. (2009). Closing the STEM Gap. Available at http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/21/college-stem-education-leadershp.com.
[3] Blumenfeld, P.C, Kempler, T.M., & Krajcik, J.S. (2006). Motivation and Cognitive Engagement in Learning Environments. In R.K. Sawyer (ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences (at 475-488). NY: Cambridge University Press.
[4] Maltese, A.V. & Tai, R.H. (2011). Pipeline Persistence: Examining the Association of Educational Experiences with Earned Degrees in STEM Among U.S. Students. Science Education95: at 877-907.
[5] Maltese & Tai, (2011) at 900.
[6] Myers, R.E., & Fouts, J.T. (1992). A Cluster Analysis of High School Science Classroom Environments and Attitude Toward Science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29 (9), at 929-937.
[7] Piburn, M.D., & Baker, D.R. (1993). If I Were the Teacher: Qualitative Study of Attitude Toward Science. Science Education, 77(4), at 393-406.
[8] Maltese, A., Tai, R. (2010). Eyeballs in the fridge: Sources of Early Interest in Science. International Journal of Science Education, 32 (5), at 669-685.
[9] Maltese & Tai (2011).
[10] Dee, T.S. (2007). Teachers and the Gender Gaps in Student Achievement. Journal of Human Resources, 42 (3), at 528-554.
[11] Packard, BWL, Nguyen, D. (2003). Science Career-Related Possible Selves of Adolescent Girls: A Longitudinal Study. Journal of Career Development, 29 (4), at 251-263. Available at http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~bpackard/website/papers/LongGirlsSTEM.pdf.
[12] Amelink, C. T. (no date). Overview: Mentoring and Women in Engineering. Available at http://www.engr.psu.edu/awe/misc/ARPs/ARP_Mentoring_overview120408.pdf.
[13] McLaughlin, R. (2005). Girls in Science. Science Scope, 28(7), at 14-15.
[14] McCrea, B. (2011). Making Science Appeal to Girls. Principal Leadership, 11(8), at 28-32. Available at http://www.nassp.org/Content/158/-apr11_mccrea.pdf.
[15] Bonous-Harnmarth, M. (2000). Pathways to Success: Affirming Opportunities for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Majors. Journal of Negro Education, 69 (1/2), at 92-111.
[16] Tai, R.H., Lui, C., Maltese, A., Fan, X. (2006). Planning Early for Careers in Science. Science, 312 (May), at 1143-1144.
[17] Maltese, A.V. & Tai, R.H. (2011). Pipeline Persistence: Examining the Association of Educational Experiences with Earned Degrees in STEM Among U.S. Students. Science Education 95: at 877-907.
[18] Munro, S., O’Brien, M.U., & Payton, J.W. (2006). Common Ground: Teaching Kids the Benefits of Working Together. Available at http://www.edutopia.org/common-ground.

Does FIRST® Make a Difference?
FIRST and STEM Outcomes

[1] National Science Board (May, 2010). Preparing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators: Identifying and Developing Our Nation’s Human Capital. National Science Foundation. Available at http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/publications/2010/nsb1033.pdf.
[2] See supra note 1.
[3] National Academy of Science (2010). Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5. Report prepared for the Presidents of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine. Available at http://download.nap.edu/cart/download.cgi?&record_id=12999 (free subscription required).
[4] See supra note 1.
[5] Thomasian, J. (Dec. 2011). Building a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education Agenda. National Governor’s Association. Available at http://www.nga.org/files/live/sites/NGA/files/pdf/1112STEMGUIDE.PDF.
[6] See supra note 1.
[7] See supra note 3 at 53.
[8] See supra note 3.
[9] US Department of Commerce (July, 2011). STEM: Good Jobs Now and For the future. ESA Issue Brief #03-11. Available at http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED522129.pdf.
[10] Carnevale, Ap., Smith, N., Melton, M. (October, 2011). STEM. Washington DC: Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce. Available at https://georgetown.app.box.com/s/cyrrqbjyirjy64uw91f6.
[11] See supra note 10.
[12] Farrell, Lawrence P. Jr., (Ret), President & CEO, National Defense Industrial Association, Available at www.ndia.org/divisions/divisions/STEM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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