Overhaul of undergraduate education necessary to achieve STEM goals, says report

According to a new study by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), the ways that colleges teach science, technology, engineering and math – or STEM – degree programs must change if the U.S. is to remain competitive on the world stage, reports Inside Higher Ed. 

The PCAST report says that universities need to change the way they teach STEM majors if the president's goal of producing an additional one million STEM graduates is to be successful. President Barack Obama's goal of encouraging students to fill out college applications for STEM degree programs has been a focus of his education reforms.

"High ­performing students frequently cite uninspiring introductory courses as a factor in their choice to switch majors," reads the report. "Low­ performing students with a high interest and aptitude in STEM careers often have difficulty with the math required in introductory STEM courses with little help provided by their universities."

Although STEM majors can be challenging, students who complete these courses stand a much better chance of finding work after college than some other majors. According to data from the Economics and Statistics Administration, STEM graduates earn 26 percent more than graduates of other subjects, and job growth in STEM fields is expected to grow by 17 percent between 2008 and 2018.

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