January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Recruiting Students into High School STEM Classes

Posted: Monday, April 1st, 2013

by Laura Henriques

It’s that time of year when students start to think about which high school classes they will take next year, and teachers and professional organizations are joining in the effort to help recruit students to take physics. Dean Baird, an award winning physics teacher from the Sacramento area, has put together some fliers and the AAPT has created a poster, “Top 10 Reasons to Take Physics,” which can be useful for recruiting students. For those students who are already thinking about college admission and college readiness, the A-G requirements help guide their planning and guidance counselors, teachers and parents also play a role in helping students decide whether to take a fourth year of math or a third (or fourth) year of science. Intuitively we already know that taking more math or science will help students be successful, and there is much data to support this idea. More high school math and science correlate with increased success in college, regardless of major, and STEM fields are employing candidates at higher rates (and the pay is pretty good!). These can be strong selling points when trying to convince students and their parents that a year of physics or another year of math really will be good for them.

In our slowly recovering economy, the prospect of employment after school (high school or college) is a concern for many. High school dropouts have a 31.5% unemployment rate, recent high school graduates are unemployed at 22.9% and new college grads have 8.9% unemployment levels (Carnevale, Cheah & Strohl, 2012). Interestingly, the Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) at Georgetown University examined college majors, unemployment levels and earnings. The report, Hard times: College majors, unemployment and earnings – Not all college degrees are created equal, found that employment levels and salaries were higher for graduates of STEM fields than other fields. When experience and graduate degrees are added to the equation the difference was even greater. Both high school students and their parents will be interested in this data. “Majors with high technical, business and healthcare content tend to earn the most among both recent and experienced college graduates (p 6).” Perusing the charts and tables of this report might provide some ideas as we try to recruit students to take an extra science class.

Getting a job and making a good salary is important. However, if a student doesn’t finish college the salaries and employment options are severely impacted, and we know that high school STEM increases their chances for successful completion. White and Cottle did a study to see how well states were preparing high school students to succeed in STEM careers. (California doesn’t do all that well, by the way.) They found that students’ high school math and science-taking patterns are tied to success in college for all degrees, especially for STEM degrees. Students who pass Algebra 2 are college ready but kids who successfully pass trigonometry, pre-calculus or calculus are even better prepared for college. Success in calculus is a strong predictor for success in STEM majors. In addition, students who take biology, chemistry and physics are much more likely to be successful in college, and students who take a second year of physics or chemistry are more likely to be successful in STEM degree programs than those who stopped at physics. This is not particularly earth-shattering news to us. Students who take calculus and a fourth year of high school science are usually oriented towards STEM fields already. In other words, passing calculus in high school is no guarantee that you will finish college or major in STEM, but there is a strong link.

As we try to recruit students into our courses we need to appeal to them on all levels. College and career readiness, potential employment and course relevance are all areas where we can focus our efforts. Not only will we get more students for our classes, we will be helping prepare a more scientifically literate, employable citizenry.

Carnevale, A.P, Cheah, B and Strohl. (2012). Hard times: College majors, unemployment and earnings. Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Available online at http://cew.georgetown.edu/unemployment/.

White, S. & Cottle, P. (2011). Preparing your students for careers in science and engineering: How is your state doing? The Physics Teachers, Vol. 49 (418-420).

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and past-president of CSTA. She serves as chair of CSTA’s Nominating Committee and is a co-chair of the NGSS Committee.

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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

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If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.