The Iowa STEM effort is all about improving student interest and achievement, as well as helping connect those passions to STEM careers in Iowa, in partnership with higher education, PreK-12 schools, business and industry, nonprofits, governmental agencies and more. Instrumental in that quest is to grow a state full of STEM-literate citizens knowledgeable about the demand and eager to help convey that message on to their family, friends, co-workers and more.
To measure progress on that objective, an independent and annual statewide survey of public attitudes toward and awareness of STEM has been conducted annually since 2012 by the Center for Social and Behavioral Research (CSBR) at the University of Northern Iowa. Approximately 1,800 randomly-selected Iowans participate in the telephone survey each year to help the STEM Council gauge the public’s knowledge and support for STEM efforts.
The findings from 2016 are in. Here’s what they say:
- The number of Iowans who have read, seen or heard about STEM has almost doubled from 26% measured in 2012 to 49% today. Although that proportion is unchanged since last year, the five-year trend for overall awareness of STEM among Iowans statewide has measurably increased about every two years from one-quarter of Iowans in 2012 to approximately 40% of Iowans when measured in 2013 and 2014 to approximately half of Iowans in 2015 and 2016.
- 93% of Iowans believe STEM education should be a priority in their local school districts, up from 90% in 2015.
- 61% of Iowans agree with the statement, “Overall, the quality of STEM education in Iowa is high,” up from 58% measured in 2015.
These and much more findings will be included in the 2016-17 Iowa STEM Evaluation Report to be released next summer. Programs of the STEM Council are annually measured by an inter-university collaboration of the Research Institute for Studies in Education at Iowa State University, Iowa Testing Programs at the University of Iowa and UNI’s CSBR. Until then, results from previous reports are available at www.IowaSTEM.gov/iowa-stem-evaluation.