Every two years the National Science Board releases its Science and Engineering Indicators, a general assessment of the U.S. science and technology landscape. This year’s tome again offers a chapter on elementary and secondary math and science education. It recaps the Nation’s Report Card. Eighth graders show a small gain in science scores since 2009 on the National Assessment of Educational Progress science assessment, and the race gap between black and white students has narrowed slightly. But the United States continues to lag other countries in math and science education, ranking seventh out of 50 nations at the fourth-grade level and sixth at the eighth-grade level.
The Indicators report also focuses on encouraging data from 2012. It finds 73 percent of high-school math teachers have degrees in mathematics, and 82 percent of high-school science teachers have degrees in science. Math and science teachers are eager to improve their skills. In middle and high school, more than 80 percent of math and science teachers took part in professional development activities in their subject areas.
Internet access has been almost universal in schools since 2008. Not surprisingly, there has been a 47 percent increase in digital education, with more than 1 million K-12 students enrolled in online courses or classes that blend online and face-to-face learning. Schools are also beginning to offer online learning options for students who are falling behind in their lessons. However, the new report notes, data are not yet available to quantify the value of online learning in science and math.
The Science and Engineering Indicators are free and can be downloaded here.
National Science Board. 2014. Science and Engineering Indicators 2014. Arlington VA: National Science Foundation (NSB 14-01).
L. Lanzerotti. “Assessing the state of U.S. science and engineering.” Science News. Feb. 12, 2010.
B. Brookshire. “2013 U.S. Report Card on reading and math.” Eureka! Lab. Nov. 7, 2013.