Sticking to the STEM acronym inappropriately compartmentalizes different fields; science, technology, engineering and mathematics all interact with one another on many levels, and viewing each one as a distinct entity is not accurate and may be detrimental. Students need to learn how to apply knowledge and skills gained in one area to another area in order to successfully understand a concept. STEM may be successful in creating “logical thinkers” out of its students, but does it create creative, innovative, or adaptable thinkers?
Likewise, sidelining the arts from the STEM formula potentially has a negative impact on the type of “transferable” knowledge that students should be acquiring. Many studies have been carried out to examine the effect of arts education on a student’s overall progress and success. The University of Florida, which provides a Master’s degree program in Art Education, states that “students who study arts for 4 years in high school score 98 points higher on the SATs compared to those who study the same for half a year or less”. The same website indicates that students who engaged in studies in music “scored 61 points higher on the verbal section and 42 points higher on the math section” on their SATs. This clearly shows a link between success in math and art education.
Re-incorporating the arts to construct the STEAM formula can only improve education, helping to build skills in creativity, innovation and adaptable thinking. Excluding the arts may be highly detrimental to the development of students’ minds.
University of Florida. (n.d.). STEM vs. STEAM. Retrieved from http://education.arts.ufl.edu/resources/stem-vs-steam-girl/.