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Suggested Citation:"Conclusion." National Research Council. 2013. Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 STEM Education: A Nation Advancing?. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13509.
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CONCLUSION

The committee’s proposed indicator system offers what we think is an important new way of advancing understanding of the state of STEM education and the development of the STEM workforce by meaningfully addressing the complex processes of schooling. It will also enable measuring progress toward the nation’s goals in these critical arenas. The proposed system represents a significant departure from existing data collection systems by linking both inputs and outcomes, and by moving beyond measures of academic achievement to recognize that variables related to student engagement and life choices also are important to meeting the goals for U.S. K-12 education in STEM.

The time to put this monitoring and reporting system into place could not be more opportune. In this era of heightened accountability in education, the availability of and capacity to collect high-quality data are greater than ever before. Moreover, with the advent of new standards in mathematics and science, the demand is increasing for data that measure the key elements of those standards. An exceptional opportunity exists to collect baseline data as states and districts begin implementing the new standards in the coming years. The committee’s proposed indicators are designed to capitalize on current opportunities and make a meaningful contribution to ongoing efforts to improve K-12 education in STEM by providing needed data to make informed decisions.

Suggested Citation:"Conclusion." National Research Council. 2013. Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 STEM Education: A Nation Advancing?. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13509.
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Following a 2011 report by the National Research Council (NRC) on successful K-12 education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Congress asked the National Science Foundation to identify methods for tracking progress toward the report's recommendations. In response, the NRC convened the Committee on an Evaluation Framework for Successful K-12 STEM Education to take on this assignment. The committee developed 14 indicators linked to the 2011 report's recommendations. By providing a focused set of key indicators related to students' access to quality learning, educator's capacity, and policy and funding initiatives in STEM, the committee addresses the need for research and data that can be used to monitor progress in K-12 STEM education and make informed decisions about improving it.

The recommended indicators provide a framework for Congress and relevant deferral agencies to create and implement a national-level monitoring and reporting system that: assesses progress toward key improvements recommended by a previous National Research Council (2011) committee; measures student knowledge, interest, and participation in the STEM disciplines and STEM-related activities; tracks financial, human capital, and material investments in K-12 STEM education at the federal, state, and local levels; provides information about the capabilities of the STEM education workforce, including teachers and principals; and facilitates strategic planning for federal investments in STEM education and workforce development when used with labor force projections. All 14 indicators explained in this report are intended to form the core of this system. Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 STEM Education: A Nation Advancing? summarizes the 14 indicators and tracks progress towards the initial report's recommendations.

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