Thursday, March 29, 2012

Engage To Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with STEM Degrees

Some blog followers might be interested in “Engage To Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with STEM Degrees” [Hake (2012)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), in a recent “Public Release announced a “Report To The President: Engage To Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics” (3MB). Documents related to the report are listed under “2012” at

The report states: “If the United States is to maintain its historic preeminence in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) - and gain the social, economic, and national security benefits that come with such preeminence-then it must produce approximately 1 million more STEM professionals over the next decade than are projected to graduate at current rates [requiring an] increase the number of students who receive undergraduate STEM degrees by about 34% annually over current rates.” The primary recommendations are:

1. Catalyze widespread adoption of empirically validated teaching practices.

2. Advocate and provide support for replacing standard laboratory courses with discovery- based research courses.

3. Launch a national experiment in postsecondary mathematics education to address the math preparation gap.

4. Encourage partnerships among stakeholders to diversify pathways to STEM careers.

5. Create a Presidential Council on STEM Education with leadership from the academic and business communities to provide strategic leadership for transformative and sustainable change in STEM undergraduate education.

I give excerpts from:

A. The Summary of the PCAST Report;

B. Commentary on the PCAST Report by (a) Jeffrey Mervis in the AAAS Science Insider (b) David Bressoud in “MAA Launchings”, and (c) Mary Ann Rankin in the Huffington Post

C. Appendix F of the PCAST Report “Efficacy of various Classroom Methods.”

To access the complete 26 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References
which Recognize the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)
Links to Articles:
Links to SDI Labs:

"Physics educators have led the way in developing and using objective tests to compare student learning gains in different types of courses, and chemists, biologists, and others are now developing similar instruments. These tests provide convincing evidence that students assimilate new knowledge more effectively in courses including active, inquiry-based, and collaborative learning, assisted by information technology, than in traditional courses."
- Wood & Gentile (2003)

REFERENCES [URL's shortened by and accessed on 29 March 2012.]

Hake, R.R. 2012. “Engage To Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with STEM Degrees,” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 29 Mar 2012 15:19:02-0700 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are also being transmitted to several discussion lists.

Wood, W.B. & J.M. Gentile. 2003. “Teaching in a research context,” Science 302: 1510; 28 November; online to subscribers at A summary is online to all at

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