Abstract for: Using System Dynamics to Model Student Interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

This paper presents preliminary results of a Raytheon project that uses systems dynamics to understand the intricacies of the U.S. educational system and to assist in exploring the effects of policies and programs, with a goal of doubling the numbers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) college graduates by 2015. Specifically, a system dynamics model has been developed, the initial version of which targets increasing the number of students both capable and interested in pursuing careers in STEM disciplines. A few scenarios have been analyzed that examine changes for improving student capabilities. Initial results provide insight into the value and viability of a few proposed policies and indicate that with continued research, model development, and analysis it will be possible to further assess proposed improvements in the U.S education system.