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Needed Math Conference Proceedings Jan 2018

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Math--how to teach it, how to use it, who needs it, and how to keep it from being a barrier between students and jobs.  These are all topics of discussion at the Needed Math, a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Funded Conference.  This conference, held from January 12-15, 2018 brought together employers in three STEM fields (biotechnology, manufacturing technology, and information and communication technology), post-secondary instructors of technical subjects related to those fields and mathematics educators.  Employers surveyed for the Manufacturing Institute's 2014 Skills Gap study report a "sizeable gap" between the talent they need and that available on the job market.  

The basic recommendation from the conference?   The mathematics standards, assessments, and curriculum need to be revisited and revised so as to place greater emphasis on the skills needed to solve the kinds of problems that arise in the real world.  This will also help to avoid the trap of "bad at math" when often the student is not bad at math, but just does not fit well into a curriculum that studies math without a clear application.  

The report is available and very interesting, with Needed Math examples that show quite clearly what employers are looking for. Take a look yourself!

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