Dissecting the Data 2012: Examining STEM Opportunities and Outcomes for Underrepresented Students in California

The Dissecting the Data 2012 report reveals that pervasive opportunity and achievement gaps across all levels of schooling negatively impact the chances for underrepresented students of color to achieve success in STEM education and to pursue higher education degrees and careers in STEM fields.

Dissecting the Data 2012: Examining STEM Opportunities and Outcomes for Underrepresented Students in California reveals that pervasive opportunity and achievement gaps across all levels of schooling negatively impact the chances for underrepresented students of color to achieve success in STEM education and to pursue higher education degrees and careers in STEM fields. The second report in a series by LPFI, Dissecting the Data 2012 examines data on STEM preparation from K-12 through higher education among underrepresented students of color in the state and concludes with promising practices and recommendations to address these challenges within California.

Data within the report reveal disparate outcomes in math and science in the earliest tested grades, culminating in low proficiency rates, low rates of college readiness and preparation, and limited enrollment and completion of STEM degrees in higher education among underrepresented students of color.

  • By 6th grade, just 35% of African-American and 42% of Latino student reached proficiency in mathematics, compared to rates almost twice as high among their white and Asian peers (68% and 81%, respectively).
    In the critical gatekeeper course, Algebra II, just 16% of African-American and 21% of Latino students reached proficiency.
  • Less than 2 in 10 African-American students reached proficiency in chemistry in 2011, and of the students who go on to take physics, just 25% of African-American and 35% of Latino students reached proficient levels of performance.
    Students of color are vastly underrepresented in AP courses; While Latino students represent 49% of the high-school aged population in California, they represent only 18% of the AP science test-takers and 19% of the AP math test-takers.
  • Latinos account for only 18% of the STEM majors across both the University of California and California State University systems; Only 3% of the STEM majors across both University systems are African-American.
  • Among first-time freshman entering the CSU system declaring STEM majors in 2004, only 13% of African-American and 22% of Latino students graduated with a STEM degree within 6 years.

  • Improving STEM education in California (particularly among underrepresented students of color) is critical, not only for California‚Äôs future but also for future of the nation.

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Promising STEM Initiatives & Programs