Adult Iowans' Evolving Attitudes toward STEM

Regardless of where they live, Iowans are ever more likely to have read, seen or heard about STEM education.
Regardless of where they live, Iowans are ever more likely to have read, seen or heard about STEM education.

This year’s annual survey of Iowans, conducted by the Center for Social and Behavioral Research (CSBR) at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), indicates growing awareness and support for STEM education. This seventh year, 1,006 randomly selected citizens were asked their perceptions of STEM in both English and Spanish. Data were weighted in order to proportionally account for gender, age, ethnicity, race, education and residence. Key findings include:

  • Sixty-two percent of Iowans have read, seen or heard about STEM education, a significant increase since 2012 (26%). Importantly, the gap between rural/urban and high/low income on this measure has narrowed.
  • A gap continues to persist between Iowans’ who believe that STEM education should be a priority in their local schools (96%) and their view as to whether it is a priority at school (59%).
  • A similar gap surfaced on a new item asking Iowans if it is important for businesses to be involved in STEM partnerships with K-12 schools (89% agree or strongly agree) and if businesses in their area are involved in K-12 STEM partnerships (49% agree or strongly agree). 
  • Support among Iowans for resources to be devoted to STEM education remains strong with over 90 percent agreeing or strongly agreeing. 

Along with continued gains come challenges for the STEM Council in the coming months and years. These findings from the CSBR help make data-driven decisions. Results of the survey will be incorporated into the annual report to the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council. The report is available upon request to Info@IowaSTEM.gov . 

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