S&E Degrees to Women, Minorities on the Rise, Math Achievement "Gender Gap" Is Gone
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The number and proportion of women and minorities enrolled and earning undergraduate and graduate science and engineering [S&E] degrees continues to increase, while the number of white men doing so is decreasing, according to a National Science Foundation [NSF] report released today to Congress.
Between 1982 and 1994, the percentages of black, Hispanic and American Indian students taking many basic and advanced mathematics courses doubled.
And the 1996 National Assessment of Educational Progress [NAEP] mathematics assessment results showed that the "gender gap" in mathematics achievement has, for the most part, disappeared, says Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 1998, a report by NSF's Division of Science Resources Studies (SRS).
Despite these gains, women, minorities, and persons with disabilities remain underrepresented in science and engineering fields, said the ninth in a series of Congressionally mandated reports on the status of women and minorities in science and engineering. The report for 1996 spurred U.S. Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD) to sponsor a bill establishing a "Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology Development."
The bill became Public Law 105-255, and the Commission held its first meeting April 14. At that meeting, NSF Director Rita Colwell said the Commission has a "vital" role in achieving a collective goal of crafting "a new strategy and a new direction for human resource development in science and engineering."
Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering: 1998 documents both short- and long-term trends in science and engineering education and employment. It does not endorse or recommend any policies or programs. Among its findings:
The complete report is available on the NSF website at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsf99338/
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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