California high school graduates who have demonstrated high achievement in a STEM subject — science, technology, engineering and math — would receive a “State Seal of STEM” attached to their diplomas and transcripts, under a bill now before the state Senate.
Assembly Bill 2072 aims to encourage more students to pursue studies in STEM by providing a special recognition that colleges and universities could review in the admissions process or that businesses could consider when hiring workers, the bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, said in a statement.
“We, as a state, should be doing all we can to keep students interested in these areas and encourage them to do well,” Chang said. “Providing students with a symbol of their accomplishments can benefit not only their personal drive and their self-esteem but also overall marketability.”
AB 2072 was approved 77-0 by the Assembly in May. The Senate is expected to consider the bill when members return from the summer break on Aug. 1. Lawmakers could vote on the bill by the end of September.
The STEM Seal would be similar to the State Seal of Billiteracy, which was approved in 2011 and certifies that high school students graduated with fluency in two or more languages.
“Providing students with a symbol of their accomplishments can benefit not only their personal drive and their self-esteem but also overall marketability,” said Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang.
To qualify for the STEM seal, students would have to complete four year-long courses in mathematics and four year-long courses in science with an average 3.0 GPA or higher.
Additionally, students would have to meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Score a 3 or higher on an Advanced Placement exam in science and earn a 3 or higher on an AP math exam;
- Earn a score of 600 or higher on the math portion of the SAT;
- Earn a score of 4 or higher on an International Baccalaureate exam in science and 4 or higher on an IB math exam;
- Earn a grade of B or higher in a college-level science course and a B or higher in a college-level math course taken separately or as part of a science course. These courses are taken through concurrent/dual enrollment at a community college;
- Score at the highest level, known as “exceeded the standard,” on the 11th-grade Smarter Balanced math and English tests.
Virginia and Arizona already award STEM seals to qualified graduates; other states are considering the move. Chang said the STEM seal is necessary to keep California’s students competitive in the global market.
“In California there are so many opportunities for graduates to find good-paying jobs in the STEM fields,” Chang said. “The more focused they are on STEM in high school, the more prepared they will be for STEM in college and the job market.”