Steam Curriculum - Steam Education - UWA Online

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With a growing focus on STEM courses and careers, arts programs in the United States are taking a hit. But arts education creates focused, well-rounded and creative students that can take on any challenge. Let’s take a look at how adding creativity and ingenuity turns STEM education into STEAM education.

Science Technology Engineering Art Math

Note: The “Art” will be shoved into the anagram, colorful, maybe a splatter

In 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) encouraged public schools to strengthen their STEM education and create more opportunities for students in these fields. The law also: (1)

  • Required that states test all students in science and math
  • Added computer science as a core subject
  • Created more STEM-focused specialty schools

Meanwhile, budget cuts have led to the elimination of arts programs. About 80% of public schools in the U.S. have seen a budget cut since 2008, and arts programs often are among the first on the chopping block. (2)

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STEM classes

Most STEM careers require the following courses throughout middle and high school: (3)


Life sciences

Physical sciences

Computer training

Beginning engineering


For STEAM addition:

Music theory

Music performance

Dance and movement

Drawing and painting

Poetry and writing

Computer graphics



U.S. Compared to the World

Countries are often ranked based on the standardized test scores of their high school students. The United States continues to rank fairly low, particularly in math skills.

U.S. rankings out of 71 countries (4)

Math     38th

Science 24th


For STEAM addition:

Music education helps students earn higher scores on the SAT, with music appreciation courses often leading to a 44-point increase on the math section! (5)

Students who study art are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement! (6)


STEM Careers

By 2020, it is estimated that the need for STEM jobs will increase by 14%. (7)

STEM workers tend to make more than non-STEM workers after college.

Average salary of a STEM worker with a bachelor’s degree, compared to $55,595 for a non-STEM worker. (4)

7 facts about the STEM workforce


For STEAM addition:

But STEAM joins science, tech, engineering, the art and math to create fun, rewarding positions.

Jobs using STEAM education (8,9)

Video game designer

Sound engineer


Fashion designer

Medical illustrator