Friday, February 10, 2012

US Way Behind in STEM Graduates

From the comprehensive OECD Report -

"There are about 1,472 math and science grads for every 100,000 employed 25- to 34-year-olds in the United States, according to the data. The compares to more than 3,555 in Korea, which leads the chart, according to the OECD figures based on 2009 data.

The United States falls between Spain and Iceland on the chart, and is noticeably lower than the OECD average. The figures do not reflect how many people with STEM degrees are actually employed in their field or using the skills they learned."

Wow - would we really tolerate being behind these countries in any other endeavor such as sports?

Reasons for this problem:
  • Poor perception of math and science fields
  • Poor preparation of teachers and not enough inspiring teachers in math and science
  • Lack of student success in math and science
  • Not prepared for college in math and science
  • First Robotics competitions - pretty darn amazing
  • UTeach - recruiting math and science experts and teaching them to deliver exciting and engaging math/science content
  • LTF Training - getting so many students prepared for math and science careers through inquiry based lessons and teacher training
  • AP and APTIP - passing AP in STEM results in better college success and APTIP gets more students ready to succeed in AP
We have a huge problem in STEM and we now have programs that can address the problem.  So let's get it done.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why AP?

Here are some great reasons from a presentation last week at the College Board conference in Arkansas:
Successful AP students develop the content knowledge, skills, and habits of mind :
  • higher first-and fourth-year college GPAs (Hargrove, Godin, & Dodd, 2008)
  • higher performance in intermediate-level college courses (Morgan & Klaric, 2007)
  • higher likelihood of majoring in the particular subject in which they participated in AP, especially STEM subjects Mattern, Shaw, & Ewing, 2011)
  • higher four-year bachelor’s degree attainment rates Hargrove, Godin, & Dodd, 2008)

Why aren’t more students taking AP?
  • 33% of students are at a school that does not offer the AP class they need
  • 45% don’t take the class even though they have the potential to take it

And why does Laying the Foundation care?  70% of students lack the pre AP rigor to have the potential for AP success
  • 17% of students complete high school with at least one successful AP experience
  • 13% have the potential to succeed in AP but don’t
  • 70% need increased preparation to get there

There you have it - we need to focus more on the 70% and provide the skills and the confidence to those students so that they are ready for AP!!

Dual Enrollment vs AP

"DE students are more likely than AP students to go to college, but are less likely to enroll in a four-year college."  Determinants of Students’ Success The Role of Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment Programs by Cecilia Speroni.

Pretty much all you need to know.  If you are just trying to hit a metric that says more kids will go to college then you can focus on dual enrollment.  But if you want to ensure students are having a quality pre-college experience that leads to a four year degree, you better get them into AP.

For more -

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"LTF is especially key to reach students in the eary years"!

Great update from NMSI CEO Mary Ann Rankin that really focuses on the great work that LTF is doing with students

Mary Ann Rankins on how the National Math+Science Initiative prepares math teachers

Some great quotes -
"We provide teachers with lessons and exercises that allow students to discover math principles themselves through problems and activities that are practical and engaging. When students can work in teams and discover principles for themselves rather than just listening to a lecture, they are much more involved in their own learning and they retain information in a different and more permanent way. Hands on applications of math remove some of the fear of the subject.
In fact students may be learning math without even realizing it. This is a very different type of teaching -- the teacher is a guide and a resource rather than a "sage on the stage." But in order to be effective, this type of lesson must be well-structured so the students achieve key learning goals.
LTF trains teachers in this kind of instruction ("inquiry-based learning" or project-based instruction) and provides lessons/exercises that teachers can use to augment the traditional curriculum"

We have the best jobs in the world!

Friday, February 3, 2012

STEM Solution Not Rocket Science

Tom Luce, the board chair of NMSI, says that the fight in STEM has shifted.  A few years back you couldn't get anyone to admit there was a problem, today you can't get them to admit there are solutions that work.  The chart above shows the number of successful African Americans and Hispanics on mathematics, science and English AP exams since AP Strategies and Laying the Foundation have been working.  That is a 1080% increase with a 1666% increase for Hispanic students.

We have found the STEM solution  - we just need to implement it in more places!

(graph from AP Strategies)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Got a note from ECS on what is happening with blended and online learning in the US.  That is a lot of districts!

- "Fifty-five percent of public school districts reported having students enrolled in distance education courses in 2009-10. Among those districts, 96% reported having students enrolled in distance education courses at the high school level, 19% at the middle or junior high school level, 6% at the elementary school level, and 4% in combined or ungraded schools."

Alternative Certification with AMAZING results!

There is a new study out on alternative teacher certification in Florida that demonstrates the amazing work we did at the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) back in the day.  When I arrived, we had Florida as a state but had not done any recruiting to get teachers.  So we set out to get some math and science experts in the classroom through our alt cert program.  Looks like we succeeded according the Tim Sass study released last month. I am proud of many things in my life, but putting ABCTE on track to get results like this is certainly in the top 5.

Tim R. Sass, Department of Economics Georgia State University December 12, 2011

From the Study
Teachers who obtain certification through the three distinctly alternative routes (district alternative
certification, Educator Preparation Institutes and ABCTE) have stronger credentials than graduates of
Florida teacher preparation programs. A greater proportion graduated from the most competitive
colleges and fewer graduated from the least competitive colleges.
…combined SAT scores are significantly higher for alternatively certified teachers, about 100 points greater for district alternative certification and EPI teachers and over 150 points greater for ABCTE teachers.

On Performance:
The performance of ABCTE teachers in teaching math is substantially better, on average, than for preparation program graduates. Across all specifications and tests, ABCTE teachers boost math achievement by six to eleven percent of a standard deviation more than do traditionally prepared teachers.

For both district alternative-certification and EPI teachers, their estimated value-added to student achievement is not statistically different from that of traditionally prepared teachers in all test/specification combinations. However, differences in value-added estimates for ABCTE teachers remain large and statistically significant in math when using the FCAT-SSS exam.