Math + Science Connection Newsletters
 Science, Technology,
Engineering, &
Math - STEM

  Watch the Video: Five Montana Women in STEM Fields

According to OPI, "STEM" isan acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and refers tothe physical, biological, and agricultural sciences; computer andinformation sciences; engineering and engineering technologies; andmathematics. The reason there is so much conversation about STEM isbecause estimates show "about five million people work directly inscience, engineering, and technology— just over 4 percent of theworkforce. This relatively small group of workers is considered to becritical to economic innovation and productivity. Workers in science andengineering fields tend to be well paid and enjoy better job securitythan do other workers. Workforce projections for 2018 by the U.S.Department of Labor show that nine of the10 fastest-growing occupationsthat require at least a bachelor's degree will require significantscientific or mathematical training" (Why so Few? retrieved April 5, 2010).

Thereis growing concern that the United States is not preparing a sufficientnumber of students, teachers, and professionals in the areas ofscience, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Although themost recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) resultsshow improvement in U.S. pupils' knowledge of math and science, thelarge majority of students still fail to reach adequate levels ofproficiency. When compared to other nations, the achievement of U.S.pupils appears inconsistent with the nation's role as a world leader inscientific innovation. (CRS Report for Congress retrieved April 5, 2010)

TheU.S also has a striking disparity between the numbers of men and womenin science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. "The classicalformulation of this idea is that men "naturally" excel in mathematicallydemanding disciplines, whereas women "naturally" excel in fields usinglanguage skills. Yet, recent gains in girls' mathematical achievementdemonstrate the importance of culture and learning environments in thecultivation of abilities and interests"MATHEMATICS & SCIENCECONNECTIONS

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