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Media Advisory 12-009

Helping U.S. Students "Make the Grade" in Science and Math

Science education experts to share proven practices at University of Illinois-Chicago workshop

two school children with their mouths open looking at a liquid- and gas-filled flask .

Report focuses on current evidence-based solutions for improving STEM education in K-12 schools.

April 5, 2012

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

On Tuesday, April 10, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education experts from around the nation and the National Science Foundation (NSF) will convene a workshop at the University of Illinois at Chicago to discuss practices that can be immediately adopted by K-12 schools to help reform STEM education nationally.

In the past two decades, U.S. 15-year-olds have scored lower than the international average on mathematics assessments. They also tend to score at about the international average on science assessments, according to the National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators 2012.

Effective teaching and learning of STEM are key to developing a 21st-century workforce and sufficiently informed citizenry. Doing so will be critical for U.S. success in an increasingly knowledge-based and innovation-dependent economy and for addressing grand challenges facing the country. That's the message research and education scientists will convey to an audience of some 300 teachers and school leaders at the "STEM Smart: Lessons Learned From Successful Schools" meeting in Chicago.

Effective STEM instruction, equal access to quality STEM experiences, and support of STEM learning infrastructure are central to next-generation STEM curriculum and student success. These "active ingredients" of successful STEM education comprise the workshop's themes and are derived from the National Research Council's (NRC) NSF-funded report Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

The NRC report recommends evidence-based ways that community stakeholders can improve K-12 STEM education. It identifies effective approaches to STEM education modeled on existing research supported by NSF. New research will inevitably inform improved educational strategies as we continue to unveil, for example, how young children learn science and mathematics in and outside the classroom.

This is the second in a series of NSF regional workshops.  The next two will be held in Nevada and Maryland. Details on the Chicago event follow:

What:STEM Smart: Lessons Learned from Successful Schools
A workshop hosted by the National Science Foundation

When:Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Where:University of Illinois at Chicago
UIC Forum

Media interested in attending and/or interviewing the educators in attendance should contact Bobbie Mixon at (703) 292-8485

A list of presenters, an agenda and further details are on the Successful STEM Education Web site.


Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

Program Contacts
Janice M. Earle, NSF, (703) 292-5097, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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