Tuesday, August 2, 2011

STEM education dilemma infographic dilemma

I like graphs. A lot. I find beauty in simple-to-understand representations of complex data (for example, Horace Dediu's analysis at Asymco of the ongoing post-PC market transition).

So you can imagine how delighted I was to find the infographic at GOOD.is entitled "The STEM Dilemma". There are some nice representations there: the number of 9th graders that end up earning an undergraduate degree in a STEM field is only 6.1% (a tiny dot), and STEM-capable teachers earn only about 71% of the income that their peers do in other jobs (a much smaller pie).  I believe these visualizations can be important tools in our work to help get folks invested in working towards improving STEM education outcomes.

Given my role in high school education, I was particularly interested in the analysis of 12th grade U.S. students in terms interest in STEM and proficiency in math.  That is, until, I noticed that the percentages add up to 104.6.

An infographic without accurate information is just a pretty picture.

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