Magazine article USA TODAY

Talking to Kids Boosts Test Scores, Careers

Magazine article USA TODAY

Talking to Kids Boosts Test Scores, Careers

Article excerpt

Parents who talk with their high schoolers about the relevance of science and math can increase competency and career interest in the fields, indicate findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which show a 12 percentage point increase on the math and science ACT for students whose parents were provided with information on how to convey effectively the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The same students also are likely to be more interested in pursuing STEM careers, including taking STEM classes in college and having a favorable impression of the fields.

The research by Christopher S. Rozek, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago (III.), and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; University of Virginia, Charlottesville; and North-western University, Evanston, III., provides new insights as policymakers look to increase the number of students going into the STEM fields.

A strong pipeline of STEM graduates is seen as critical for economic growth and global competitiveness, with recent international tests ranking the U.S. 35th in math achievement and 27th in science achievement.

"Parents are potentially an untapped resource for helping to improve the STEM motivation and preparation of students," says Rozek. …

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