Issue: Transition into math and science courses in high school
Policy/Practice Questions: There is a growing consensus that our nation's future economic competitiveness depends upon strengthening our students' skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Policy innovations to increase and retain STEM college majors have been proposed, but little is known about the factors at the secondary school level that may affect the supply of possible STEM students in college and beyond.
Issue: Under-representation of high school graduates in STEM
Policy/Practice Questions: What are the factors in secondary education that predict STEM pipeline participation in college and beyond and can be targeted through policy innovation? How can policy makers close the gender gap in STEM?
The inclusion of interest and motivation items in the student questionnaire will give NCES a more accurate instrument for measuring key factors predicting choice of postsecondary paths, including majors and eventual careers. Coupled with the mathematics assessment's focus on algebra and the administrator/counselor surveys, HSLS:09 provides a new set of predictors at the individual level for examining continuation in the STEM pipeline.