Precollege Math and Science Education:

Department of Energy's Precollege Program Managed Ineffectively

HEHS-94-208: Published: Sep 13, 1994. Publicly Released: Oct 13, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Energy's (DOE) management of its precollege mathematics and science education program, focusing on: (1) DOE program implementation priorities; (2) the role of project evaluations in budget decisions; and (3) whether the program helps to achieve the National Education Goal of making U.S. students first in the world in mathematics and science achievement.

GAO found that: (1) DOE heavily weights program funding toward teacher enhancement projects, including programs to upgrade teachers' mathematics and science skills; (2) research has not conclusively demonstrated a relationship between teacher enhancement and student achievement; (3) systemic reform, in which DOE has not implemented many projects, is a more promising approach for increasing student achievement; (4) DOE could improve its chances of increasing student achievement by further diversifying the types of projects it funds; (5) until recently, DOE did not require project evaluations, ensure that evaluations were adequate, or link project evaluations to budget decisions; and (6) DOE precollege program projects are not focused on student achievement or linked to achieving the National Education Goals.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Precollege programs have been discontinued.

    Recommendation: In continuing the Department's efforts to improve management of the precollege mathematics and science education program, the Secretary of Energy should strengthen its management role. Specifically, the Secretary should place greater emphasis on balancing the program by increasing the proportion of systemic reform projects.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Precollege programs have been discontinued.

    Recommendation: In continuing the Department's efforts to improve management of the precollege mathematics and science education program, the Secretary of Energy should strengthen its management role. Specifically, the Secretary should strengthen its evaluation component so that it serves as a basis for: (1) improving projects; (2) making informed budget decisions about terminating, retaining, and expanding projects; and (3) measuring gains in student achievement.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Precollege programs have been discontinued.

    Recommendation: In continuing the Department's efforts to improve management of the precollege mathematics and science education program, the Secretary of Energy should strengthen its management role. Specifically, the Secretary should restructure or discontinue all projects that do not clearly support National Education Goal 5--increasing students' mathematics and science achievement.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

 

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