Taking the pulse of bioscience education in America: A State-by-State Analysis Battelle Technology Partnership Practice May 2009
Project Team • Battelle • World’s largest independent research and development organization • Conducts $5.2 billion in global R&D annually • Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) • Biotechnology Institute • PMP Public Affairs Consulting
Like other technology-driven industries, the biosciences calls for a college-educated workforce (but not all PhDs and MDs), lots of technicians, engineers and quality control. Estimated that over 80% of life science jobs require post-secondary education. What differentiates biosciences industry is its specialized skill requirements. MA Life Sciences Center, “Growing Talent: Meeting the Evolving Needs of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Industry,” found the following specific workforce shortages: Clinical trials management Regulatory affairs Process development and manufacturing engineers Pharmacology Laboratory animal care Specialty scientific fields, like toxicology Quality assurance and quality control Bioscience Talent Challenge
U.S. failing to keep pace with international competitors: On science literacy —as measured by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) — U.S. stands 17th out of 29 OECD nations. U.S. has slipped to 7th in the world in the educational attainment of younger adults aged 25 to 34 with at least an associate’s degree — serious risk that theeducational attainment of younger workers in U.S. may fall short of older generation of workers it is replacing. Warning Signs on Bioscience Education: On the National Assessment of Educational Progress, life sciences scores for 12th graders have declined from 1996 to 2005. Based on American College Test — a standardized achievement test for college admission — only 28% of U.S. students taking the test had a score indicating college readiness for biology. But U.S. falling behind…and so a crisis is brewing!
Time is ripe for an in-depth analysis of states’ performance in preparing an educated bioscience workforce. Focus on middle and high school level as primary feeders to postsecondary education and shapers of career awareness and preparation. Key Questions: How well are students in high school and middle school being prepared in the biosciences in particular and in science and mathematics in general? How and to what extent are states incorporating the biosciences into school curricula? How well prepared are science teachers to teach students about the biosciences? To what extent are students exposed to the biosciences and made aware of career opportunities and educational requirements? Project Objective
Framework was developed after consultation with National experts in bioscience education Industry leaders Biotechnology Institute Data collection Battelle used existing secondary data supplemented by state specific surveys Framework Student achievement Standards and requirements Teach quality and preparation Experiential learning and career awareness Methodology
Framework for Assessing Student Achievement • Indicators • 8th Grade NAEP Life Science Scores • Percent of AP Biology Students Scoring 3 or higher • Percent of ACT Tested Students Ready for College-level Biology • ACT-SAT Math Scores SOURCES OF ACHIEVEMENT DATA The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Advanced placement (AP) tests The American College Test (ACT) The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
Percentage of 8th grade students that are “proficient” in science ranged from a high of 43% to a low of 14% among states in 2005 • Only 52% of 12th graders are at or above a “basic” level of achievement in the sciences, and for 8th graders only 57% are at a basic level of achievement • Even in states with the highest scores, fewer than half of 8th graders are “proficient” in science.
And scores in science and life science are not improving – 12th grade scores declined between 1996 and 2005
Striking regional differences in 8th grade NAEP Science Average Scores for 2005 with Northeastern, Mountain and Upper Midwest regions standing out as higher performers Leading States in NAEP Science Achievement North Dakota Montana Vermont New Hampshire South Dakota Massachusetts Wyoming Minnesota Wisconsin Idaho Maine
High schools are not preparing students to pursue college-level science • ACT has determined that those students who achieve a score of 24 in the science section of the ACT have a 50% chance of obtaining a B or higher in college-level biology. • On average, only 28% of the high school students taking the ACT reached a score indicating college readiness for biology and no state reached even 50%. Leading States in ACT Science Achievement New York Massachusetts Minnesota Washington Connecticut Iowa Wisconsin New Hampshire Vermont Delaware Maine South Dakota
States vary greatly in the percentage of their students that receive a passing grade of 3 or greater on the AP Biology test • The share of students scoring 3 or greater in AP Biology ranges from a low of 15% to a high of 68% • More than 60% of test takers in Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Massachusetts score 3 or higher
Leaders of the PackConnecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Vermont, Wisconsin Second Tier Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington Middling PerformanceAlabama, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Montana, South Carolina, Wyoming Lagging PerformanceArkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia Not Rated: Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico were not rated as they did not participate in the NAEP science assessment in 2005 Wide disparities exist among the states in student performance in the biosciences and broader sciences The patterns of student performance across key achievement measures suggest states fall into several broad categories. Key measures: • 8th grade NAEP life sciences score • Percent of AP biology students scoring 3 or higher • Percent of ACT tested students ready for college level biology • ACT-SAT math average indexed relative to the U.S.
Many state science standards require that students be made aware of biotechnology and its societal impacts • Arkansas’ standards require that students: • Demonstrate a current understanding of life science theories • Describe the connections between pure and applied science • Describe various life science careers and the training required for selected careers • Investigate the molecular basis of genetics • Engage in hands-on activities during at least 20% of instructional time
More must be done to raise the level and quality of bioscience education if the U.S. is to remain globally competitive in the biosciences • Student achievement in the biosciences, to the extent it can be measured, is poor and not improving • Programs that seek to incorporate the biosciences and biotechnology in school curricula, improve teacher quality and knowledge of the biosciences, provide experiential learning, and increase career awareness are numerous but limited in their reach
Looking toward the future • States should incorporate biotechnology as they revise their science standards and should involve research scientists with expertise in the biosciences in their development • States must commit to improving student achievement in biology and the life sciences and ensuring that their high school graduates are ready to pursue college-level bioscience courses • States should do a better job of collecting and disseminating data to track student participation and performance in the biosciences and the broader sciences • States should take a more systematic approach to teacher professional development, experiential learning, and career awareness
Mitch Horowitz Vice-President Battelle Technology Partnership Practice 240-462-5456 email@example.com A copy of the report as well as the individual profiles for the 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia can be found at www.bio.org/local or www.battelle.org Contacts