What is STEM?

A STEM-literate student is not only an innovator and critical thinker, but is able to make meaningful connections between school, community, work and global issues. A STEM-literate high school graduate can enroll in a college-level course of study in science, technology, engineering, and math without the need for remediation. STEM skills are increasingly necessary to engage in a knowledge-based economy. There is solid evidence to suggest that the fastest-growing and highest-wage jobs in future years will be in STEM fields and all employees will need to utilize STEM skills for problem solving in a wide range of industries.

STEM education places emphasis on the following skill sets for students:

  • Problem-solvers – able to define questions and problems, design investigations to gather data, collect and organize data, draw conclusions, and then apply understandings to new and novel situations.
  • Innovators – creatively use science, mathematics, and technology concepts and principles by applying them to the engineering design process.
  • Inventors – recognize the needs of the world and creatively design, test, redesign, and then implement solutions (engineering process).
  • Self-reliant – able to use initiative and self-motivation to set agendas, develop and gain self-confidence, and work within time specified time frames.
  • Logical thinkers – able to apply rational and logical thought processes of science, mathematics, and engineering design to innovation and invention.
  • Technologically literate - understand and explain the nature of technology, develop the skills needed, and apply technology appropriately.
  • (Morrison, Janice, 2006. TIES STEM education monograph series, attributes of STEM education.)