WASHINGTON, April 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite multiple initiatives to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in the United States, America is still not producing enough workers to fill current and future STEM jobs, according to the new U.S. News/ Raytheon STEM Index, unveiled today at www.usnews.com/news/stem-index.
The new index was developed exclusively by U.S. News & World Report, with support from Raytheon, as a way to track STEM jobs and education since the year 2000. It is the only comprehensive index to measure key indicators of economic- and education-related STEM activity in the United States over time.
The first U.S. News/ Raytheon STEM Index shows that while STEM employment as defined by the U.S. government has gone up by more than 30 percent, from 12.8 million STEM jobs in 2000 to 16.8 million in 2013, high school student aptitude and interest in pursuing STEM has not kept pace with demand for STEM workers. Furthermore, gender and ethnic gaps among students interested in STEM remain wide.
Key insights on America's STEM talent pool from the U.S. News/ Raytheon STEM Index:
- In spite of the intense drive to encourage students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics, high school student interest levels in STEM fell between 2009 and 2013 and are now just slightly below where they were in 2000.
- Between 2000 and 2013, an average of 37.6 percent of high school males reported having interest in at least one of the STEM disciplines. In the same timeframe, only 14.8 percent of females reported interest.
- In 2013, the average SAT math score for white students was 534, compared to 461 for Hispanic students and 429 for black students. The average ACT science scores were 22 for whites, 18.8 for Hispanic students and 16.9 for black students.
- As high school students' interest in STEM has waned, their scores on international assessments like PISA have also dropped. In 2000, the average U.S. PISA math score was 493. In 2012, that score dropped to 481. During that time, average U.S. science scores have dropped from 499 to 497.
"With as many as 50 percent of future jobs requiring some STEM skills, there is significant national interest – and investment – in improving STEM education," said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News & World Report. "The U.S. News/ Raytheon STEM Index allows us to measure whether there has been positive or negative movement in key areas, particularly in workforce development, and identify ongoing pipeline issues such as female and minority participation in STEM."
"Science, technology, engineering and math form the foundation of the global innovation economy," said William H. Swanson, Chairman of Raytheon Company. "Yet, as the STEM Index suggests, if educational trends continue, fewer professionals will be available to deliver growth in these areas. It is critical to the United States' long term economic outlook and national security that we inspire young people to pursue academic excellence in STEM studies. For the past decade, Raytheon has invested in programs designed to inspire student interest in STEM and to support our nation's educators to turn that inspiration into an innovative workforce of the future."
The STEM Index (read full methodology) is made up of 93 sub-indices and thousands of data points divided into eight components: ACT math and science scores, Advance Placement (AP) test scores in STEM subjects, college and graduate degrees granted, U.S. employment in STEM fields, Program for International Student Assessments (PISA) math and science scores, SAT math scores, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) math scores and high school students' interest in STEM.
The Index relies on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics, the College Board, the National Research Center for Colleges & University Admissions, the ACT and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
U.S. News is committed to ongoing coverage of STEM education and employment issues and will continue to analyze the thousands of data points in the U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index to better understand the STEM challenges facing the country.
"We want to call attention to a national problem that people need to be aware of on a personal level," Kelly said. "There is a mismatch of skills and jobs, of supply and demand, and the challenge is to get them aligned again."
About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is a multi-platform publisher of news and analysis, which includes the digital-only U.S. News Weekly magazine, www.usnews.com and www.rankingsandreviews.com. Focusing on Health, Personal Finance, Education, Travel, Cars and Public Service/Opinion, U.S. News has earned a reputation as the leading provider of service news and information that improves the quality of life of its readers. U.S. News & World Report's signature franchise includes its News You Can Use® brand of journalism and its annual "Best" series of consumer Web guides and publications that include rankings of colleges, graduate schools, hospitals, mutual funds, health plans and more.
Raytheon Company, with 2013 sales of $24 billion and 63,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, security and civil markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 92 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as cyber security and a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. For more about Raytheon, visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @Raytheon.
SOURCE U.S. News & World Report