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White Paper: Adaptive Technologies Help Create Equitable Opportunities for Underrepresented College Students in STEM

New paper from STEMconnector and McGraw Hill features insights from educators and employers on how to how to meet diverse student needs through adaptive technology

Tags: Education Technology, ALEKS, Higher Education, Press Release

NEW YORK, N.Y.  (June 22, 2021) – Despite meaningful and sustained efforts, the STEM talent deficit remains, with insufficient talent available to meet the demand. A new whitepaper from STEMconnector and McGraw Hill offers valuable insights from educators, administrators and employers regarding the position of two-year colleges in the STEM ecosystems and how opportunities can be created for students in these programs to pursue STEM degrees. The paper, which highlights case studies and outcomes from colleges using the McGraw Hill ALEKS adaptive learning solution for math and chemistry, shows how important online interactive learning programs can be for students experiencing learning loss as a result of COVID-19-related circumstances.

The white paper, entitled Meeting Students Where They Are: Two-Year Colleges & Equitable Opportunities in STEM, can be downloaded here:

"Two-year colleges fulfill a vital role by providing an accessible option for those who do not fit into the specific box of a four-year college," said Dr. Jo Webber, FRSC, CEO of STEMconnector. "This includes students of different ages, students who may need to reskill, low-income families and students who need to work while gaining an education. We were excited to partner with McGraw Hill on this research and dive into online interactive learning programs and how they help meet the needs of all these different students."

The paper has been published at a unique and challenging time, when researchers are expecting students will need added support this summer and fall after disruptions in learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The research presented in this paper shows that underrepresented students are more likely to have faced disruptions in learning in the last year and need additional support," said Susan Gouijnstook, SVP of Innovation Strategy, Product Management and Operations for McGraw Hill’s higher education group. "Adaptive technologies are uniquely prepared to help students rebuild the fundamental skills and knowledge required to succeed in math and science."

"In college level courses such as Math and Chemistry, there is a level of pre-requisite knowledge for students to master before being ready to take on additional topics," the paper says. "For students who have had less preparation in high school or have had a longer time away from the classroom, that foundational knowledge often needs reinforcement before students are fully prepared for the course."

Based on the theory of "knowledge spaces" from cognitive science, ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces) uses artificial intelligence to create personalized and dynamic learning paths for K–20 students based on their unique needs. Since all students enter a course with varying levels of preparedness, ALEKS’s technology pinpoints what students already know, what they don’t and, most important, what they’re ready to learn next. To date, ALEKS has helped more than 20 million students at thousands of K–12 schools, colleges and universities around the world.

About STEMconnector

STEMconnector is committed to increasing the number of STEM-ready workers in the global talent pool. Using our technology platform and network programming, we work with STEM-focused universities, colleges, and many of the world’s largest companies to build and maintain a diverse and robust STEM workforce. Our mission is to educate, inform, and connect leaders with a vested interest in growing a STEM-ready workforce. Visit us at or on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin or Twitter.

McGraw Hill
McGraw Hill is a leading global education company that partners with millions of educators, learners and professionals around the world. Recognizing their diverse needs, we build trusted content, flexible tools and powerful digital platforms to help them achieve success on their own terms. Through our commitment to equity, accessibility and inclusion, we foster a culture of belonging that respects and reflects the diversity of the communities, learners and educators we serve. McGraw Hill has over 30 offices across North America, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America, and makes its learning solutions for PreK-12, higher education, professionals and others available in more than 80 languages. Visit us at or find us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or X.

Tyler Reed
McGraw Hill
(914) 512-4853