Left to Chance

U.S. Middle Schoolers Lack in-Depth Experience with Technology and Engineering

Technology and engineering have played central roles in forming our national identity. We see the United States as a nation of tinkerers and inventors who have helped chart the course of global innovation for centuries. Only time will tell if we can continue to live up to this conception of ourselves. New data from the first-ever Nation's Report Card on Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL) are not reassuring. Well less than half the nation’s eighth-graders are on track to become proficient in a set of skills they will need to thrive in society and the workplace. 

Change the Equation’s analysis of survey data from TEL reveals that millions of American youth spend precious little time tinkering, troubleshooting, or doing the kinds of hands-on problem-solving that are at the heart of technology and engineering. Girls, minorities, and low-income students do least of all—dampening hopes to create a more diverse STEM workforce in future years.

Without intentional strategies to expose many more young people to technology and engineering, we are leaving a critical aspect of students’ education to chance.

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