NEW SURVEY SHOWS REAL-WORLD ACTIVITIES CAN HELP REINVIGORATE STUDENT INTEREST IN SCIENCE EDUCATION

K-12 Science Teachers and Parents Also Agree Outside Mentors and Use of Technology Resources Can Play an Important Role

CHICAGO AND DEERFIELD, IL, October 28, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — A new national survey released today shows large percentages of science teachers and parents strongly agree that demonstrating real-life applications in science (87 percent and 72 percent, respectively) can help make science education more interesting for U.S. students. Almost all science teachers (99 percent) and nine in ten parents (90 percent) feel that science education is important, if not very important for a child’s future, but that it needs to be more engaging to capture the attention of children in America today (97 percent and 96 percent, respectively). The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of iBIO Institute and Astellas Pharma US, Inc. (“Astellas”) included a sample of 235 science teachers and 300 parents with school-age children in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“It is important that students today understand that science is more than what they read in a text book,” said David Miller, president and CEO of iBIO Institute. “As educators, parents and mentors it is our responsibility to take science beyond the pages of a book. By developing creative and innovative lesson plans that demonstrate the cause and effect of science, we have the opportunity to bring science to life for our children.”

To spur student interest in science, the survey also shows science teachers and parents feel very strongly that using outside mentors (46 percent and 51 percent, respectively) and leveraging technology resources like the Internet (73 percent, 56 percent) can play an important role. In fact, almost all science teachers and parents agree that the Internet should be used more to make interesting science education materials available to teachers (97 percent and 92 percent, respectively), to provide support for mentoring efforts (99 percent, 96 percent), and that it can be a great tool for parents to engage in their child’s education (96 percent, 98 percent).

“In this technologically advanced and competitive world, a solid science education is vital to the future of our children,” said Seigo Kashii, president and CEO of Astellas Pharma US, Inc. “We need to rekindle their natural curiosity about science, and the best way to do that is to make sure our science teachers have the resources and the mentoring opportunities they need to inspire a life-long love of science in their students. At Astellas, we are dedicated to making this a reality through programs like Science WoRx.”

Earlier this year Astellas launched Science WoRx, a mentoring program and online resource network designed to help science teachers inspire the next generation of scientists. Astellas is pleased to expand its mentoring efforts to science teachers and students across the U.S. through a program called the Virtual Science Pro. Through video lessons and online resources like Skype, teachers can bring a real-world scientist into their classroom to work with their students and conduct grade-level appropriate experiments that demonstrate the impact of science. Parents can use the video lessons as well to help their child get excited about science at home. The Virtual Science Pro can be found at www.youtube.com/AstellasUS or www.ScienceWoRx.org.

The survey of science teachers and parents explored their overall attitudes on science education in the U.S. including parental involvement and the role of technology. The other major findings of the survey include:

  • Two-thirds of parents (68 percent) say they are either involved or very involved in their child’s science education and 95 percent have done at least one science-related activity with their child.
  • However, a majority of science teachers (70 percent) feel strongly that parents should be more involved in their child’s science education. Also, two-thirds of science teachers (67 percent) would like parents to be more involved, compared to only 27 percent of parents who express a strong desire to be more involved.
  • Additionally, science teachers are almost three times more likely than parents to say that parents often don’t understand their child’s science lessons (94 percent of science teachers vs. 32 percent of parents).
  • Almost all science teachers (91 percent) and parents (85 percent) agree that technology is not being used as much as it should be in science education today.
  • Large majorities of science teachers and parents agree that internet access (89 percent and 78 percent, respectively), films/videos (88 percent, 78 percent), computer stations (86 percent, 74 percent) and smartboards (85 percent, 60 percent) are technology resources that should be used in the science classroom.
  • Over nine in ten science teachers and parents also say that science is very important or important to the future of the U.S. (100 percent and 92 percent, respectively).
  • Almost all science teachers (96 percent) and parents (95 percent) agree science education needs to be improved; in fact, over three in five science teachers (62 percent) strongly agree with this.
  • Virtually every science teacher (98 percent) says there is a critical need for more resources in science education today; over three quarters (77 percent) strongly agree. Only 22 percent of science teachers feel they have the resources needed to conduct hands-on experiments.

Survey Methodology

The survey of parents and science teachers was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of iBIO Institute and Astellas Pharma US, Inc. between July 22 and August 4, 2010 among 300 parents (18 and older) of children in grades K-12 and 235 K-12 science teachers (18 and older). The results were weighted [age, sex, race, education, household income, number of children under 18 (for parents only) and region] to bring them into line with the actual proportions in the U.S. population of parents who have at least one child in grades K-12 and K-12 science teachers aged 18 years and above. Additionally, propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. Respondents include those who opted to participate in Harris Interactive surveys and are weighted to reflect the composition of their respective populations. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated since the sample is based on respondents who agreed to participate.

About Science WoRx

Science WoRx is a mentoring program and online resource network to support science teachers’ needs in and outside the classroom. Created by Astellas Pharma US, Inc., the program seeks to increase understanding of the role that science plays in human health and medicine, and to inspire the next generation of scientists. Science WoRx is supported by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and iBIO Institute, the education arm of Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization (iBIO). For more information, visit www.ScienceWoRx.org or join our community on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ScienceWoRx and on Twitter (@ScienceWoRx). To access Virtual Science Pro resources go to: www.youtube.com/AstellasUS.

About iBIO Institute

The mission of the iBIO Institute is to provide education, training and research to members of the business and educational communities and to the general public. Our goal is to help create a globally recognized biotechnology center in Chicago, Illinois, and the surrounding Midwest region. Our educational programs support development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental breakthroughs. To learn more about the iBIO Institute and its programs, visit www.ibioinstitute.org.

About Astellas

The Astellas culture and brand is committed to building community, helping others, encouraging integrity and inspiring people to make a difference, today, tomorrow and every day. Astellas Pharma US, Inc., located in Deerfield, Illinois, is a U.S. affiliate of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. The organization is committed to becoming a global category leader in focused areas by combining outstanding R&D and marketing capabilities. In the U.S., Astellas markets products in the areas of Anti-Infectives, Cardiology, Dermatology, Neuroscience, Transplant, and Urology. For more information about Astellas Pharma US, Inc., please visit our website at www.astellas.us or follow us on Twitter (@AstellasUS).

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Media Contacts:

Jenny Keeney
Astellas US LLC
(847) 317-5405

AJ Pace
iBIO Institute
(312) 422-1111