Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 STEM Education: A Nation Advancing?

This is the second report by the National Research Council (NRC) on  science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in K-12 schools. This report follows up on the 2011 report to identify methods for tracking progress toward quality STEM education. The Committee on an Evaluation Framework for Successful K-12 STEM Education, convened by the NRC, developed 14 indicators related to students' access to quality learning, educator's capacity, and policy and funding initiatives in STEM. This report addresses the need for research and data that can be used to monitor progress in K-12 STEM education and make informed decisions about improving it.

The 14 indicators in this report “provide a framework for Congress and relevant deferral agencies to create and implement a national-level monitoring and reporting system that: assesses progress toward key improvements recommended by a previous National Research Council (2011) committee; measures student knowledge, interest, and participation in the STEM disciplines and STEM-related activities; tracks financial, human capital, and material investments in K-12 STEM education at the federal, state, and local levels; provides information about the capabilities of the STEM education workforce, including teachers and principals; and facilitates strategic planning for federal investments in STEM education and workforce development when used with labor force projections” (from the report’s website description).

Content Comments 

This NRC report provides the foundation for measuring STEM program quality and outcomes. In developing these 14 progress indicators, the NRC supports those interested in researching equitable access to students’ learning opportunities and instructional materials in STEM, teachers’ capacity to use those opportunities and materials well, and policies and structures that support effective educational practices. The NRC website provides several ways to access the report; readers can download this report for free, read it online for free, or purchase a bound copy. The website also provides supporting materials under the “Resources” bar, including a brief 4-page report highlights and links to more information.