Iowa students, teachers benefit from STEM

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council released the 2017-2018 Iowa STEM Evaluation Report Tuesday. The independent evaluation measures the STEM Council’s progress toward increasing student interest and achievement in STEM education and workforce development in Iowa.

“Engaging, relevant STEM education is changing the lives of students across Iowa,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said. “The annual STEM Evaluation Report demonstrates how STEM is transforming schools and our future workforce. With the growth of well-paying STEM jobs expected to outpace other occupations, STEM Council education programs provide teachers with the tools they need to inspire young people from preschool through high school to prepare for STEM careers.”

Highlights of the report include:

• In 2017, 96 percent of Iowans said STEM education should be a priority in their local school district.

• Students who participated in the STEM Scale-Up Programs, a menu of exemplary STEM programs available to teachers and students in Iowa, scored an average of 2 points higher in National Percentile Rank on the Iowa Assessments in mathematics and reading and 3 points higher in science.

• Among educators taking part in the STEM Scale-Up Program, 91 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they now have more confidence to teach STEM topics and have increased their STEM knowledge.

• The percent of students who said they were very interested in someday working in Iowa was 45 percent of STEM Scale-Up Program participants compared to 36 percent of students statewide.

• From 2012-2013 to 2016-2017, STEM post-secondary credentials (including certificates, associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees and other awards) have increased 26 percent at Iowa’s four-year public universities, 20 percent at Iowa’s four-year private colleges and universities and 2 percent at Iowa’s two-year community colleges.

• Individuals in STEM occupations earned $27.58 in average hourly wages in 2016 and $57,357 in mean salaries, compared to all occupations overall earning $20.12 in average hourly wages and $41,843 in mean salaries.

• More than half of all Iowans (59 percent) had heard of the STEM acronym in 2017. This is an increase of 10 percent compared to 2016, and more than double compared to 2012.

“The results of this report will have a significant impact on STEM education and workforce development for years to come as it will help guide future STEM Council programming and projects in Iowa,” Accumold President and CEO Roger Hargens, co-chair of the STEM Council, said.

The Iowa STEM Evaluation Report is conducted by an inter-university consortium of Iowa State University’s Research Institute for Studies in Education (RISE), University of Iowa’s Iowa Testing Programs and the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Social and Behavioral Research (CSBR).