The U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index Shows Gender and Racial Gaps Widening in STEM Fields
WASHINGTON, DC – Multi-million dollar initiatives by both the public and the private sectors have failed to close gender and racial gaps in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, according to the second-annual U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index, unveiled recently at http://www.usnews.com/stemindex.
The STEM Index, developed exclusively by U.S. News & World Report with support from Raytheon, provides a national snapshot of STEM jobs and education. The index measures key indicators of economic- and education-related STEM activity in the U.S. since the year 2000.
The 2015 STEM Index shows that while employment and degrees granted in STEM fields have improved since 2000, gaps between men and women and between whites and minorities in STEM remain deeply entrenched.
Mathematics remains the Achilles’ heel of STEM fields: Across all demographic groups, interest in mathematics has declined since 2000.
Key insights on women and minorities in STEM from the 2015 U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index:
The gender gap in engineering and technology fields is already well-formed by high school:
- High-school girls are much less interested in pursuing engineering and technology than their male peers. In 2014, only 3 percent of high-school females reported an interest in engineering, compared to 31 percent of males. In the same year, just 2 percent of girls reported an interest in technology, while 15 percent of boys expressed an interest in the field.
- On Advanced Placement (AP) tests, male students scored higher than females in all STEM subjects; on the SATs, males of all demographics scored at least 30 points higher on the math section than females.
Gender gaps remain deeply entrenched in college and graduate school:
- At the college and graduate levels, women earned more STEM degrees each year, but they kept pace — rather than catching up — with their male counterparts.
- In 2014, only 6 percent of associate degrees and 13 percent of bachelor’s degrees granted to females were in a STEM field. By contrast, 20 percent of associate degrees and 28 percent of bachelor’s degrees granted to males were in STEM fields.
- At the graduate level, in 2014 only 10 percent of graduate degrees earned by females were in STEM fields. In the same year, 24 percent of graduate degrees granted to males were STEM degrees.
While high school interest in science has increased among white, black, Hispanic, Asian and American Indian students, gaps between whites and non-Asian minorities in STEM are apparent in high school and continue into college and graduate school:
- On the SAT, black students scored an average of 105 points lower than white students and 169 points lower than Asian students on the math section.
- Race gaps were pronounced in students’ scores on the math and science sections of the ACT. While Asian and white students had the highest scores; black, Hispanic and American Indian students lagged behind.
- From 2009 to 2014, the percentage of bachelor's degrees granted to white students in STEM has grown from 16.8 percent to 19.5 percent, rising every year. Over the same time period, the percentage of bachelor's degrees granted to black students in STEM has grown more slowly, from 12.7 percent in 2009 to 13.6 percent in 2014.
“Over the last decade, there has been significant national interest in improving STEM employment and education,” says Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News. "The U.S. News/Raytheon STEM Index allows us to chart our progress — or lack thereof. It's clear that we need to focus our efforts on engaging the majority of the future labor pool — young women, Latinos and African-Americans — in STEM.”
“Clearly, we need to do more to make diversity a priority in science, technology, engineering and math fields to keep the United States competitive and the economy growing,” says Mark E. Russell, vice president of engineering, technology and mission assurance for Raytheon Company. He pointed to organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Engineering is Elementary and National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering as change agents that are delivering successful outcomes for underserved populations throughout their academic years and into their professional paths. “It's our collective responsibility to identify, support and scale programs like these and the vital service they provide,” he says.
The STEM Index methodology details how the U.S. News data team created the index, which is made up of 19 sub-indices and thousands of data points divided into nine component areas: ACT math and science scores, Advance Placement test scores in STEM subjects, college and graduate degrees granted, U.S. employment in STEM fields, Program for International Student Assessments (PISA) math and science scores, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study data (TIMSS), SAT math scores, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) math scores and high school students' interest in STEM.
The Index relies on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics, the College Board, the National Research Center for College & University Admissions, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, the ACT and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
U.S. News, host of the fourth annual STEM Solutions National Leadership Conference, is committed to ongoing coverage of the STEM challenges facing the country. The U.S. News STEM hub, www.usnews.com/STEM, features in-depth reporting and opinion on STEM issues, while the Best High Schools for STEM and the Best Jobs for STEM help guide students and working adults into STEM fields.
About U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is a digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on education, health, personal finance, travel, cars and news & opinion, www.usnews.com provides consumer advice, rankings, news and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. 30 million people visit www.usnews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, DC. For more about U.S. News, follow us on Twitter @usnews.
Raytheon Company, with 2014 sales of $23 billion and 61,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 93 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as cybersecurity and a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. For more about Raytheon, visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @Raytheon.