Click on the tabs to see the current statistics for Arizona students
Arizona STEM Network’s shared goal of full participation in an upcoming STEM-heavy economy requires a strong STEM-educated workforce. We’ve tracked Arizona students’ progress along their STEM education pathways in order to more fully understand the state of STEM education within our communities.
Arizona leads in STEM job growth. According to Change the Equation, STEM jobs in Arizona will grow 23% through 2024, and we’re the second-ranked state in projected growth of computing jobs:
Yet the excitement of STEM-related job growth comes with the realization that Arizona students are underprepared for a STEM-heavy economy. In Arizona, we lag in STEM credentials and degrees, and in after school STEM programming:
Also according to Change the Equation - Arizona is behind national benchmarks in diversity in computing and engineering; we spend little classroom time on teaching science; our teachers lag in science and math preparation; and our science classrooms lack resources and supplies. More about Change the Equation’s findings can be found here.
The pages on this site show Arizona-specific STEM education measures. In doing so, we hope to increase awareness of the educational performance of Arizona’s students, from 4th grade-level to university level, especially compared to national averages.
We’re inspired to share these indicators with our community – from business leaders, to educators, to local governments, to philanthropic investors – in the hopes that awareness of the STEM education state of Arizona students will in turn inform policy and investment.
Nearly 4 out of 10 students passed AzMERIT in 2016, but achievement gaps persist between student subgroups and different races/ethnicities. The Arizona Department of Education released final results from the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 administrations of the AzMERIT statewide assessment and the Multi-State Alternate Assessment in an Excel file and more information about the assessments.
The ACT Released its 2016 findings on the "Condition of STEM in Arizona (Dec. 2016) Download the full Report: here.
In Arizona, 58 percent of high school graduates took the ACT test. Of the Arizona students who took the ACT test, almost HALF (48 percent: about 17,500 graduates) expressed an interest in STEM majors or careers. But less than one-quarter (23 percent) of those 17,500 interested graduates met or surpassed the ACT College Readiness Benchmark in STEM -- a bit worse than the nationwide average of 26 percent.
Only 15 graduates want to be a science teacher, and of those 15, only 8 have a MEASURED interest; i.e., their responses to the ACT Interest Inventory items result in high science and technology interest scores.
Only 39 graduates want to be a math teacher; and of those 39, only 7 have a MEASURED interest.
Popular choices of STEM career/major in Arizona are:
* Almost 1500 want to go into medicine (pre-med), and a roughly equal number want to pursue a BS in nursing.
* Almost 800 want to be a mechanical engineer.
* Almost 950 want to do something with computers (e.g., computer science &programming, software applications, network/telecommunications, etc)
* Life sciences (biology, bio-chem, zoology, marine/aquatic biology, cellular biology, genetics): about 1500 students, plus more students choosing several applied life sciences like animal science & wildlife mgmt.
Here’s what we know about the STEM preparation and achievements of Arizona’s students, detailed on the various page:
- Only 38% of Arizona 4th grade students are proficient at math. This is slightly below the national average, but represents an increase since 2009 for Arizona’s students.
- At least 23% of 8th grade students taking the ACT Explore test are college ready in the areas of math and science, the highest percentage over the last five years.
- For Arizona’s 10th grade students taking the PSAT, their average score remains above the college-ready benchmark, and above the national average.
- For the last six years, more Arizona 10th grade students are interested in STEM than the national average, as measured by the major they are planning in college.
- More and more of Arizona’s 12th grade students are taking the ACT, while the percentage taking the SAT has remained similar over the years. Both of Arizona’s 12th grade students’ average ACT math and science scores have slightly declined since 2009, and are below the national average. Their scores are also below the college-ready benchmark.
- However, the average SAT math score for Arizona’s 12th grade students has slightly increased since 2009, and is above the national average and meets or exceeds the college-ready benchmark.
- As of 2011, Arizona was the state with the highest proportion of 18-24 year-olds with Associate’s degrees in science, engineering and technology per 1,000 people. This is likely due to our strong community college system.
The series of graphs and indicators can assist with planning curriculum, programming and pathways for all of Arizona’s students. There are several organizations that are poised to begin the progress of providing our children with the education they need to become successful adults and to build a strong, diverse workforce. For further information, contact the Arizona STEM Network for ways to get involved.