About Our Project

The United States Government has established Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) goals as a method to accelerate progress towards Presidential priority areas.  In fiscal year 2015 Presidential Budget, the Whitehouse outlined 15 CAP goals.  Among these is a goal to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. One of the goals in the STEM CAP is to create 1,000,000 additional STEM graduates between 2010 -2020. This project was created to evaluate the cross-agency effectiveness in achieving that goal using a model-driven approach.

One of the major challenges that faced this project is the lack of student-level effectiveness data reported by STEM programs.  The absence of this data requires a model to aggregate assumed and calculated effects of several STEM programs across multiple agencies.

Using a Systems Dynamics model approach, the Project Team modeled Government STEM program effects on the STEM undergraduate pipeline. System Dynamics modelling is an ideal methodology to for this project because it allows assumptions, causality and delayed effects to be integrated into the model.

The project team performed sensitivity analysis to calculate the Return On Investment (ROI) of investment of STEM scholarships and research programs for undergraduates. Among these two options, the analysis found that investment in STEM scholarships will cause a greater number of students persisting in the STEM pipeline per dollar spent than STEM research programs.

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