STEM Careers


Biological Science


Computers & Math

Physical Science

Science & Engineering

Developing the STEM Education Pipeline

For almost 50 years, ACT has played a pivotal role in promoting student
access into and success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. Through academic and career assessments, career development tools, and extensive research, we have helped inform students, parents, teachers, career counselors, employers, and policymakers
about the skills that are needed to perform effectively in STEM fields.
Our research and recommendations for policymakers and educators are based on the more than one million U.S. high school graduates who take the ACT college admission and placement exam each year. The ACT is the only national college admission test that includes an interest inventory as well as both math and science assessments. The results provide a clear picture of high school students’ interest and academic achievement in STEM, and the news is mixed. Interest in STEM is declining, and most students are not adequately prepared to succeed in college-level coursework. However, students who plan early and strategically and have access to high-level and rigorous coursework are more likely to be prepared for and succeed in the STEM fields.

Summary of research on the effectiveness of math professional development approaches

This comprehensive literature review identified 643 studies of professional development interventions related to math in grades K–12. Thirty-two of the studies used a research design for assessing the effectiveness of math professional development approaches, and five of those met What Works Clearinghouse evidence standards. Of the five, only two found positive effects on student math proficiency.

The Hidden STEM Economy

Workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields play a direct role in driving economic growth. Yet, because of how the STEM economy has been defined, policymakers have mainly focused on supporting workers with at least a bachelor’s (BA) degree, overlooking a strong potential workforce of those with less than a BA.

Finding Your WorkForce

The top 25 institutions graduating latinos in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by academic level, 2009 – 10

  1. SCIENCE: biological/biomedical sciences; physical sciences; science technologies
  2. TECHNOLOGY: computer/information sciences and support services
  3. ENGINEERING: engineering, engineering technologies and engineering-related fields
  4. MATHEMATICS: Mathematics and statistics
Biological Sciences Computers & Math Engineering Math effectiveness studies, 2014 Physical Science Science & Engineering Related Developing the STEM Education Pipeline, ACT 2006: The Hidden STEM Economy, Brookings Institute 2013: The Top 25 Colleges for Latinos in the STEM Fields, 2010: Community College Change Agents at HSIs- Stewarding HSI-STEM Funds for Latino Student Success in STEM, 2012: Developing the Capacity of Faculty to Become Institutional Agents for Latinos in STEM, 2012: Hispanic-STEM-Initiative: Hispanics and STEM-Factsheet 2015: Most STEM Degrees to Latinos Granted by Schools in Six States: Reducing Undergraduate Debt to Increase Latina and Latino Participation in STEM Professions, 2012: