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Engineering Education Today

The NCTL strongly believes that students deserve a STEM education that gives them the 21st-century skills they need to succeed in school and life. Engineering education engages students and deepens their learning, encouraging them to apply their math and science knowledge to design solutions to real problems.

According to a September 2009 report by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the National Research Council (NRC), Engineering in K 12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects:

In recent years, educators and policymakers have come to a consensus that the teaching of STEM subjects in U.S. schools must be improved. The focus on STEM topics is closely related to concerns about U.S. competitiveness in the global economy and about the development of a workforce with the knowledge and skills to address technical and technological issues. To date, most efforts to improve STEM education have been concentrated on mathematics and science, but an increasing number of states and school districts have been adding technology education to the mix, and a smaller but significant number have added engineering.

In contrast to science, mathematics, and even technology education... the teaching of engineering in elementary and secondary schools is still very much a work in progress. Not only have no learning standards been developed, little is available in the way of guidance for teacher professional development, and no national or state-level assessments of student accomplishment have been developed.

Below, learn how states are adopting comprehensive standards and applying federal funds to ensure that students across the nation receive a well-rounded STEM education.


The NCTL continues to build ongoing commitment for enhancing the understanding of engineering within the state by working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. We provide the support needed to implement the program across the school districts. This includes continued development and review of the engineering educational standards and development and review of assessment tools. Our staff provides leadership in key committees and does ongoing advocacy for the program at the community, business, and government levels. We have also worked with several states on changing their engineering standards.

The framework we developed in Massachusetts was the foundation for the development of a new set of model science standards called the Next Generation Science (NGSS). NGSS is a set of K-12 science and engineering content standards developed to improve STEM proficiency in the U.S. According to the NGSS Hub, “nearly two-thirds of U.S. students live in states that have education standards influenced by the Framework for K-12 Science Education and/or the Next Generation Science Standards.”


The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed in 2016, contains a number of provisions that support STEM and computer science teaching and learning. ESSA enables states to direct federal funds to improve accessibility, access, and assessments in schools and afterschool programs. All 50 states; Washington, D.C.; and Puerto Rico have submitted funding proposals, many of which contain funds directed toward technology and engineering.

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