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Raytheon Company Develops Simulator to Help Policymakers Identify Policies that Could Boost STEM Graduates

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“Our nation is facing an important challenge: to ensure a robust pipeline of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics talent.”

In an effort to increase the number of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates in the United States, Raytheon Company developed a simulation and modeling tool that will allow policymakers, educators, and researchers explore policy scenarios that could strengthen STEM education and workforce outcomes. At an event on July 8, Raytheon handed the model over to the Business-Higher Education Forum.

“Our nation is facing an important challenge: to ensure a robust pipeline of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics talent,” said William H. Swanson, Raytheon’s chairman and CEO. “For a technology company like ours, the development of the U.S. STEM Education Model has been a tremendous opportunity to apply the engineering mind set to matters close to the heart—to help secure the future of innovation in our country and of the next generation of Americans.”

The U.S. STEM Education Model allows users to simulate different scenarios in an effort to determine whether they can potentially increase the number of students choosing to major and graduate in STEM disciplines. Using complex algorithms, the model simulates and assesses the impact of STEM-policy and programmatic interventions over a period of time to determine which produce favorable outcomes. Some factors and variables that can be tested include teacher-student ratios and class sizes, dropout and graduation rates, teacher attrition rates, and teacher and STEM industry salaries. After factors are chosen, the model uses census data and standardized test scores to track the flow of students through the K–16 education system and into careers in STEM teaching or STEM industries.

Because the model is available in an open-source environment, researchers and developers can download the model freely for their own research and modeling work. To download the model or learn more about the project, visit http://www.stemnetwork.org/.

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