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Computer science in high school graduation requirements

July 7, 2015 Comments off

Computer science in high school graduation requirements (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

Computer science and coding skills are widely recognized as a valuable asset in the current and projected job market. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 37.5 percent growth from 2012 to 2022 in the “computer systems design and related services” industry — from 1,620,300 jobs in 2012 to an estimated 2,229,000 jobs in 2022.

Yet some reports point to an alarming absence of female and minority students in courses such as Advanced Placement (AP) computer science. Of AP Computer Science A exam takers in the Class of 2013, 81 percent were male and 82.5 percent were white or Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander. Code.org reports nine out of 10 K-12 schools don’t offer computer programming coursework.

This ECS Education Trends report identifies states that are allowing or requiring districts to apply computer science coursework toward completion of high school graduation requirements in math, science or foreign language. This report also highlights several states that require computer science courses to fulfill requirements for a specialized diploma or endorsement to the standard high school diploma.

The Livability Index: Great Neighborhoods for All Ages

July 6, 2015 Comments off

The Livability Index: Great Neighborhoods for All Ages
Source: AARP Public Policy

The Livability Index is a signature initiative of the Public Policy Institute to measure the quality of life in American communities across multiple dimensions: housing, transportation, neighborhood characteristics, environment, health, opportunity, and civic and social engagement.

An interactive, easily navigated website, the Livability Index allows users to compare communities, adjust scores based on personal preferences and learn how to take action to make their own communities move livable.

Using Innovation and Technology to Improve City Services

July 3, 2015 Comments off

Using Innovation and Technology to Improve City Services
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

In this report, Professor Greenberg examines a dozen cities across the United States that have award-winning reputations for using innovation and technology to improve the services they provide to their residents. She explores a variety of success factors associated with effective service delivery at the local level, including:

  • The policies, platforms, and applications that cities use for different purposes, such as public engagement, streamlining the issuance of permits, and emergency response
  • How cities can successfully partner with third parties, such as nonprofits, foundations, universities, and private businesses to improve service delivery using technology
  • The types of business cases that can be presented to mayors and city councils to support various changes proposed by innovators in city government

Professor Greenberg identifies a series of trends that drive cities to undertake innovations, such as the increased use of mobile devices by residents. Based on cities’ responses to these trends, she offers a set of findings and specific actions that city officials can act upon to create innovation agendas for their communities. Her report also presents case studies for each of the dozen cities in her review. These cases provide a real-world context, which will allow interested leaders in other cities to see how their own communities might approach similar innovation initiatives.

Snapshot Report – Contribution of Two-Year Institutions to Four-Year Completions

July 2, 2015 Comments off

Snapshot Report – Contribution of Two-Year Institutions to Four-Year Completions
Source: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center

In the 2013-14 academic year, 46 percent of students who completed a degree at a four-year institution were enrolled at a two-year institution at some point in the previous 10 years. This is a one percentage point increase over the comparable figure for degrees awarded in 2010-11. The prior two-year enrollment may have been brief (as little as a single course) and the two-year institution may or may not have been the first one the student attended. As shown below, 21 percent of students previously enrolled at two-year institutions were enrolled for only one term. In 14 states, more than half of four-year degree recipients were previously enrolled at a two-year institution.

2015 U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index

July 1, 2015 Comments off

2015 U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index
Source: U.S. News and Raytheon
From article:

While the number of jobs, types of degrees granted and level of student interest in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields continues to increase since 2000, the second-annual U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index shows that mutli-million dollar efforts by both the public and the private sectors have failed to close gender and racial gaps in STEM.

The 2015 STEM Index, created with support from Raytheon, shows a slight uptick in STEM-related education and employment activity in the United States compared to last year. But the raw data show gaps between the men and women and between whites and minorities remain deeply entrenched — and, in some cases, have even widened.

With few exceptions, women lag behind men in the number of STEM degrees granted, exam scores and general interest in the STEM fields. White and Asian students and college graduates overwhelmingly outperformed black, Hispanic and American Indian students in all three metrics.

Understanding the Underserved Learner: The Condition of STEM 2014

June 30, 2015 Comments off

Understanding the Underserved Learner: The Condition of STEM 2014 (PDF)
Source: ACT
From email:

Understanding the Underserved Learner: The Condition of STEM 2014 is an ACT report that determines underserved students’ interest and their college and career readiness in math- and science-related areas. Students’ readiness in these areas could affect their STEM career opportunities and help address the national deficit of skilled STEM workers.

The report, released today, identifies underserved learners using student characteristics that are often related to a lack of access to high-quality educational and career planning opportunities and resources.

+ Underserved students make up a large portion of the potential STEM target group. Of the 899,684 students from the 2014 graduating class who reported an interest in STEM, more than 418,000 (47%) were underserved students.

+ Underserved graduates are just as likely as ACT-tested students overall to be interested in STEM—49 percent have an interest in STEM in each case.

+ Underserved students are far less prepared for success in college STEM coursework than are students overall. For example, only 25 percent of underserved STEM students met the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in science, compared to 59 percent of students who are not underserved. Erasing this readiness gap in science would help more than 140,000 students become ready for first-year college science coursework.

CGS Report Highlights Completion Trends of Underrepresented Minorities in STEM Doctoral Programs

June 29, 2015 Comments off

CGS Report Highlights Completion Trends of Underrepresented Minorities in STEM Doctoral Programs
Source: Council of Graduate Schools (CGS)

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) today released findings from the Doctoral Initiative on Minority Attrition and Completion (DIMAC), a 3-year study that examined patterns of degree completion and attrition among underrepresented minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF #1138814), the project collected data from doctoral students at twenty-one universities in the United States, including universities affiliated with NSF’s Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program.

The most recent project in a series of CGS research studies on doctoral completion trends, DIMAC has resulted in the most comprehensive account of STEM doctoral completion and attrition for underrepresented minorities (URM) in the U.S. In the context of the study, URM includes U.S. students and permanent residents who self-identify as American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African-American, and Hispanic/Latino.

The DIMAC report provides completion rates, attrition rates, times-to-degree and times-to-attrition of URM STEM doctoral students using data spanning academic years 1992/93 to 2011/12. There is some data to suggest that from the earliest cohort to the most recent, there have been slight improvements in completion outcomes.

A key finding of the data on student completion rates is that completion outcomes vary by student characteristics, with some of the most notable differences emerging in the analysis of race/ethnicity and field of study. Over a ten-year period, 54% of students completed a doctorate. Looking at ten-year completion data by student characteristics,

  • doctoral students in the life sciences completed at 63%, while candidates in physical &mathematical sciences experienced a rate of 45%.
  • Hispanic/Latinos completed at a rate of 58%, while Black/African Americans completed at a rate of50%.
  • women completed at a rate of 56%, while the ten-year completion rate for men was 52%.
  • ten-year completion was 57% for students with a prior master’s degree, and 52% for those withouta master’s.
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