Check the Pulse of STEM in Your State With Vital Signs


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    Today, thanks to Change the Equation, we become the home of Vital Signs, a tool allowing you to assess the health of STEM education by state and nationally. Choose a state, any state, and Vital Signs provides the answers to many, many questions. Here are just a few examples:

    K-12 achievement

    • How does my state’s recent math and science performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress compare nationally? By student subgroup?
    • And how does my state’s fourth- and eighth-grade math performance compare with states that have made the greatest gains since 2003, including for low-income, black and Hispanic students?

    STEM demand

    • How fast are STEM jobs projected to grow in the next decade, compared with all jobs in my state?
    • What are the median earnings for STEM jobs versus non-STEM jobs in my state?


    • How well-reflected are women and people of color in the percentage of computing and engineering degrees awarded in my state?

    STEM content

    • What percentage of the Class of 2015 (by race/ethnicity) took an Advanced Placement math exam and scored 3 or higher?
    • How many recent black and Hispanic graduates in my state could likely have succeeded on a STEM AP exam, but didn’t take one?
    • What percentage of students of color in my state are in high schools that don’t offer one or more of these courses: chemistry, algebra II, advanced math, or calculus and physics?


    • What percentage of black and Hispanic fourth-graders in my state, compared with fourth-graders nationally, have a teacher who majored in math?
    • To what extent do black and Hispanic eighth-graders in my state have experienced math and science teachers?

    Teaching tools

    • To what extent do eighth-grade math and science teachers in my state, compared with teachers nationally, report that a lack of parental support is a problem?

    But wait — there’s more! Vital Signs also assesses the health of STEM in the United States as a whole, so there’s a ton more information about STEM achievement and opportunities. We hope this tool will prompt fruitful discussions in state agencies and statehouses across the nation.

    Please let us know what you think. We’re looking forward to hearing your feedback to further refine this tool in the months to come.

    Author profile
    Principal at Education Commission of the States |

    Jennifer oversees work on an array of policy issues, including dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, early college, high school graduation requirements, career/technical education and various STEM issues, including computer science. Jennifer has more than 20 years of experience at Education Commission of the States, conducting targeted research and analysis, writing publications, presenting and testifying, and organizing and executing convenings. When not saving lives through education policy, she can be found spending quality time with her husband and young son and daughter.

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