Measuring progress. Inspiring action.

STEM in Minnesota

Make connections and build foundations

During middle school, students should have meaningful experiences that inspire, build connections, and help them see themselves in STEM. Students also need to build a solid academic foundation to succeed in high school math and science coursework, as well as the ability to apply STEM knowledge and skills to solving real-world problems.
Out-of-school-time experiences provide important opportunities for engagement in STEM. The percentage of 8th-grade students who participate in science activities not for schoolwork provides a measure of informal education.
Shoring up teachers' skills is a high leverage point for increasing the number of students who attain STEM degrees. Classes taught by teachers licensed for the assignment provides a measure of the supply of qualified STEM teachers. As discussed on the "Best practices" tab, research literature also indicates substantial changes are needed in teacher preparation and professional development.
Proficiency in 8th-grade math provides a measure of whether students are on track to pursue more challenging math coursework in high school.