Survey: K-12 Experience Key to STEM Learning
Microsoft announced the findings
of two national surveys,
conducted online by Harris
Interactive, of college students
currently pursuing science,
technology, engineering, and
math (STEM) degrees and of
parents of K–12 students. The
goal of the surveys was to gain
insight about what can better
prepare and inspire students
to pursue post-secondary education
in STEM subjects.
The survey findings offer key insights behind the STEM skills shortage, including:
While most parents of K-12 students (93%) believe that STEM
education should be a priority in the U.S., only half (49%) agree
that it actually is a top priority for this country.
Nearly 4 in 5 STEM college students say that they decided to study
STEM in high school or earlier, and parents say STEM interest begins at
an early age. One in five students (21%) decides in middle school
Male students are more likely to pursue STEM because they have
always enjoyed games/toys, reading books, and/or participating in
clubs that are focused on their chosen subject area. (51% vs.
35% females). Female students are more likely to say
that they chose STEM to make a difference (49% vs. 34%
The motivation factors for boys and girls to become
interested in STEM are very different. For boys, it’s primarily games and
toys that led to a liking of STEM; for girls, it was a teacher or class.
Schools should factor these differences into their STEM curriculum.