Students in National Math and Science Initiative Program Outperform Peers on Advanced Placement Exams for Fifth Consecutive Year
Students enrolled in high schools that partner with the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) earned significantly higher scores on Advanced Placement* (AP) exams compared to the national average for the fifth consecutive year, new College Board data reveals.
NMSI’s comprehensive program has a dramatic improvement on AP scores within the first year of implementation. The average first year increase in the number of passing AP math, science and English scores at NMSI schools is 72 percent – 10 times the national average. Those results are sustained throughout the program’s three-year duration. Over the life cycle of the NMSI program, the number of average passing scores on AP math, science and English exams increased by 144 percent, compared to 23.2 percent nationally. To achieve a passing score, students must earn a three or higher on a five-point scale, making them eligible for college credit at most colleges and universities.
“The knowledge economy demands that all students have strong foundations in STEM disciplines, yet so many of our students do not have access to rigorous content,” said Sara Martinez Tucker, CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative. “By encouraging more students to take college-level courses and equipping them to succeed, we're closing the achievement gap. We're also expanding access to promising careers in STEM fields and the industries increasingly dependent on college-educated professionals."
The NMSI program has been implemented in more than 550 schools across 22 states – approximately two percent of schools in the United States; however, it accounts for 7.5 percent of the national increase in passing scores on AP math, science and English exams.
Academic performance among minorities enrolled in the NMSI program continues to be particularly impressive. Over the course of the three-year program, the number of African-American and Hispanic students who achieved passing AP scores in math, science and English courses tripled. The average three-year increase in the number of passing math, science and English scores among minorities enrolled in the NMSI program is 219 percent compared to the national average of 48.5 percent. According to a statewide Texas study by the National Center for Educational Accountability, minority students who achieve a passing score on an AP exam are four times more likely to graduate from college.
NMSI’s comprehensive program is also making significant strides toward addressing the gender imbalance in STEM fields. The number of passing scores achieved by the program’s female students on AP math and science exams over the three-year program also tripled, increasing their preparation for rigorous college courses and future careers in STEM. Furthermore, the number of average passing scores for females enrolled in the NMSI program increased by 87 percent, compared to 8.7 percent nationally.
“Increasing opportunities for students to pursue advanced coursework and potentially receive post-secondary credit while still in high school is critically important,” said Camsie McAdams, senior advisor on STEM education at the U.S. Department of Education. “Efforts to increase student performance in AP math, science and English, like NMSI’s comprehensive approach, are helping prepare today’s students for the jobs of the future.”
NMSI’s comprehensive AP program fosters sustained academic achievement in high schools across the nation by providing open enrollment in AP math, science and English classes for all students, increased time on task for students through special study sessions, intensive teacher training, support from master teachers and incentives for teachers and students. A 2010 study conducted by Dr. C. Kirabo Jackson, assistant professor at Northwestern University, found that NMSI students were 22 percent more likely to continue in college than students not enrolled in the program.
About National Math and Science Initiative
NMSI, a non-profit organization, was launched in 2007 by top leaders in business, education, and science to transform education in the United States. NMSI has received national recognition for training K-12 teachers and improving student performance through the rapid expansion of these highly successful programs: NMSI's Comprehensive AP program, NMSI Teacher Training program, and UT Austin’s UTeach program. Inaugural funding for NMSI, was provided by the Exxon Mobil Corporation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. For more information, visit www.nms.org.
*Advanced Placement and AP are registered trademarks of the College Board.