STEM education is critical, but schools struggle to keep students interested

STEM-edEducators hear it all the time: STEM education is one of the keys to a competitive and successful U.S. workforce. But for all the emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math, these subjects often can be dry and leave students wondering how they’ll apply these concepts in the real world.

The latest PISA results paint a grim picture of U.S. math and science performance–in math, the U.S. ranked 26th out of the 34 testing countries, and the nation ranked 21st in science.

There also exists a gap between U.S. performance and that of top-performing countries. For instance, Shanghai-China’s performance “is the equivalent of over two years of formal schooling ahead of those observed in Massachusetts, itself a strong-performing U.S. state,” according to the results.

(Next page: Important ways to keep students interested in STEM)