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New ACOLA Report International comparison study of STEM education

ACOLA today launches a new report, which for the first time compares science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education strategies on an international basis and identifies the key strategies of successful STEM countries.

ACOLA today launches a new report, which for the first time compares science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education strategies on an international basis and identifies the key strategies of successful STEM countries.

From 22 studies of STEM policies and practices around the world the STEM: country comparisons report makes 24 key findings which highlight a number of challenges for Australia with STEM participation and provides a basis of ideas to tackle these.

Overall, STEM: Country Comparisons found that while Australia does well in the major international ranking studies, it faces several key challenges if it is to maintain or improve upon its current position.

Report co-author Professor Russell Tytler said “STEM education is almost universally recognised as important. A key problem for Australia lies in in the distribution of student achievement with a long tail of underperforming students when compared to our major competitors.” 

The report found that Australia is suffering serious capacity gaps in STEM teaching with teacher shortages, in particular in regional Australia, and a large problem of teachers teaching out of field, which is particularly pronounced in mathematics.

The President of ACOLA, Professor Lesley Johnson AM FAHA commented “ Of particular interest in the Report are the striking similarities found in countries strong in STEM, despite significant cultural, political and economic differences”.  She went on to add “ For example, STEM strong countries have a strong focus on teachers and teaching with teachers held in high esteem and expected to teach in their qualified field and not others”

STEM strong countries were all found to share a focus on curriculum reform to make STEM engaging; a strong commitment to learning and achievement for all; guided by a national STEM policy framework.

STEM education has long been seen as pivotal to increasing our nation’s productivity. The report found that many nations have evolved dynamic and productive strategies in their focus on advancing STEM.

“Australia lacks a sense of national urgency around STEM performance in contrast to some of our closest competitors. This report provides a framework of evidence based findings on which to address the challenges facing STEM education in Australia” commented Professor Tytler.

The report can be downloaded here (large file).

ENDS

For more information or to arrange an interview contact Rebecca Skinner, Communications and Project Manager on 03 9864 0925 or 0400 684 993 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.