Australian STEM education seems caught in a whirlpool of problems that are contributing to one another. Student engagement and performance in STEM are declining, but we do not have the supply of qualified teachers we need to improve learning. The STEM curriculum is unbalanced and fragmented, leading to less interest among students. It is not possible to break out of the downward cycle from within the current system and it requires policy changes that address the issues raised in this report. This means developing well-considered, systemic and joined-up policies that address the following challenges: Improving student outcomes, building the STEM teacher workforce, and rethinking the STEM curriculum.
This issue of Policy Insights is informed by a literature and policy review undertaken by the authors in 2017, as well as by the key messages of the ACER 2016 Research Conference, ‘Improving STEM Learning: What will it take?’