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ERIC Number: ED570655
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 56
Abstractor: ERIC
Defining "STEM" Skills: Review and Synthesis of the Literature. Support Document 1
Siekmann, Gitta; Korbel, Patrick
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
Current definitions of STEM skills are inconsistent and not specific enough to inform education and skill policies and initiatives, potentially leading to a number of unsubstantiated and uncoordinated responses. There is a danger of generating a domestic oversupply of graduates in science, mathematics, engineering and technology while ignoring the changing nature of work and the workforce and the global mobility of STEM skills. The aim of this study is to clarify definitions relating to STEM competency and to identify its place in vocational education and training and in the twenty-first-century skills framework. This report provides an overview of the current STEM debate and a review of the literature on the various aspects and roles for STEM concepts, as well as descriptions of the knowledge and skills associated with STEM competency. The report concludes with a number of suggestions for future action in relation to STEM. The suggestions cover issues of definition, STEM skills stocktake, the incorporation of STEM skills into a holistic skills framework, the identification of the skills relevant to each education sector for the purposes of their teaching and the role of the VET sector in the development of STEM skills. Two appendices are included: (1) Classification systems used for determining STEM occupations; and (2) Twenty-first century skills. [This document was produced by the author(s) based on their research for "What Is STEM? The Need for Unpacking Its Definitions and Applications" (ED570651) and "Measuring STEM in Vocational Education and Training" (ED570653). For "Identifying STEM Occupations: National and International Approaches. Support Document 2," see ED570663.]
National Centre for Vocational Education Research Ltd. P.O. Box 8288, Stational Arcade, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Tel: +61-8-230-8400; Fax: +61-8-212-3436; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Higher Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) (Australia)
Identifiers - Location: Australia