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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida average in science, engineering prep, index says

Florida is average when it comes to preparing students for careers in science and engineering, ranking halfway between top-performing Massachusetts and bottom-dwelling Mississippi, according to a new national ranking co-developed by a Florida State University physics professor.

The Science and Engineering Readiness Index is based on a range of indicators involving high school physics and calculus, the subjects its creators say are most important to developing future scientists and engineers.

Among the indicators: Advanced Placement results, teacher certification requirements and enrollment in physics classes.

The index was designed by Paul Cottle, an FSU professor and prolific blogger on science education, and Susan White at the American Institute of Physics' Statistical Research Center.

An institute press release says, "The rankings show that there are a small number of high-performers, but that most states are doing a poor job of preparing students to earn science or technology degrees, says Cottle, who notes that students in his own introductory physics classes at FSU face a high risk of doing poorly if they have not taken physics in high school. Physics education is important, says Cottle, not only because it prepares individual students to enter high-paying professions, but also because it is vital to maintaining U.S. economic competitiveness in growing fields, such as clean energy and biotechnology."

The rankings seem to jibe with national test scores that show Florida students are at best average in science. Click on the attachment below for more information about the index, including the state-by-state numbers.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 11:22am]


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