Parents Speaking about STEM Fields Boosts Test Scores and Career Interest

Study shows a 12 percentage point increase on the math and science ACT for students whose parents were provided with information on how to effectively convey the importance of science, technology, engineering and math. | January 25, 2017

Here at Lake View, we are continually reaching out to feeder schools to impart the importance of a STEM education as an indicator of student success in school and beyond. But a new study just released in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows a 12 percentage point increase in math and science on the ACT for students whose parents were provided with information on how to effectively convey the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math." Evidence shows that providing parents with the ability to speak directly with students about STEM  careers and education is a proven method of raising that students test scores.

As Tyrese Graham, the Assistant Principal & STEM Director here at Lake View  High School explains, "A lot of people assume that if students have never had this type (STEM) of education before they will come here and get everything they need and are set for graduation. We can do a lot in these four years, but we can't do it all"  Our feeders school have also seen the importance of starting a STEM education early with the addition of Maker Spaces and the new CPS requirement of Computer Science for All (CS4All), making sure that student are exposed to those 21st century skills at an early age. 

Mr. Graham goes on to state that "having that exposure at a really young age is important to the outcomes that we are trying to achieve here at Lake View. Talking to students early helps them focus academically and think more critically." The article also goes on to say that by the time students are teenagers, many parents don’t think there is much they can do to change their children’s minds or help them be motivated. This research shows that parents can still have a substantial effect.”

We encourage parents to read this article and have those conversations with your students about the role STEM plays in their everyday lives; from cell phones to the internet of things. Just talking with students about the world around them, infused with STEM, can help them tremendously. As the study states, "Overall, these findings demonstrate that a motivational intervention with parents can have important effects on STEM preparation in high school, as well as downstream effects on STEM career pursuit[s] 5 years later."