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FAQ

 Q: WHAT IS THE NATIONAL MATH AND SCIENCE INITIATIVE?

The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) is an agent of change that was launched in 2007 by top leaders in business, education and science to improve student achievement in math and science across the American public school system. The NMSI mission is to bring best practices to the education sector by replicating proven programs on a national scale that have more than 10 years of proven results. These programs include the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program to prepare more high school students to succeed in college level courses, the UTeach program to recruit and train more math and science teachers, and the Laying the Foundation program to prepare middle school and high school students to succeed in pre-AP and AP classes. 

Q: WHY WAS NMSI CREATED?

Math and science, not government, will be needed to solve our biggest problems. Math and science are the foundational literacy of the Information Age – and concern is growing that low performance in math and science is hurting the United States’ global competitiveness.
NMSI was launched in March 2007 by top leaders in American business, education, and science in response to the call for action by the National Academies’ 2005 report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm.
NMSI’s mission is to help the U.S. maintain its leadership position in technological innovation by providing a path to math and science careers for more students.

THE NEED IS PRESSING:

  • Only 29 percent of American fourth grade students, 32 percent of eighth grade students, and 18 percent of 12th grade students performed at or above the proficient level in science.
  • About a third of high school mathematics students and two-thirds of those enrolled in physical science have teachers who either did not major in the subject in college or are not certified to teach it.
  • Among low-income students, 70 percent of their middle school mathematics teachers majored in some other subject in college.
  • Those undergraduates who leave science and engineering majors for other majors are often among the most highly qualified college entrants, and they are disproportionately women and students of color.
  • The U.S. ranks 16th of 17 nations in the proportion of 24-year-olds who earn degrees in natural science or engineering as opposed to other majors.
Q: HOW IS NMSI FUNDED?
NMSI is marshalling public-private cooperation to solve one of our country’s most pressing problems, staying competitive in the crucial fields of math and science. NMSI has received major funding support for its ground-breaking national initiatives from Exxon Mobil Corporation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, with additional support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Texas Instruments and Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Q: WHO ARE THE LEADERS OF NMSI?

The board of directors includes key executives from The College Board, the National Academy of Sciences, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, leading universities, major U.S. corporations, state education agencies and foundations focusing on education.
The Founding CEO and Chairman of NMSI is Tom Luce, former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. For a full list of NMSI's leadership, click here

Q: HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER MATH AND SCIENCE INITIATIVES?

We’re not trying to reinvent wheels, we are finding the best ones and rolling them out on a national scale. To ensure long-term impact, funding is targeted to programs with verifiable records of success that can be replicated nationally, in contrast to many pilot projects that begin with a flourish but are not applied on a national scale and fade over time.
NMSI serves as a strategic holding company, not only to channel public-private money toward proven programs, but to also monitor implementation and provide ongoing support.
As NMSI funding for grantees phases out, recipients are expected to seek other private-sector and state funds–which is more feasible as programs mature and demonstrate they are making a difference in their communities.

Q: WHAT IS ADVANCED PLACEMENT?

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program gives high school students a chance to do college level work in a variety of subjects ranging from calculus to chemistry. The AP exam is graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with 3 or higher considered qualifying scores, sometimes referred to as passing scores.
If students score well enough on an AP test, students can earn course credit or placement in advanced credit courses at most colleges and universities.
The AP program has established a track record of positive results. In a state-wide Texas study, AP success correlated with much greater success in college. Six-year college graduation rates rise from ~15 percent for African-American and Hispanic students to ~60 percent if they have scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam.
Students enrolled in AP courses are also competitive internationally–while the U.S. ranked below the international average on the Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS), students who had taken the AP Calculus exam ranked first in the world in advanced mathematics.
NMSI support is targeting the 13 AP math, science, and English tests: Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Computer Science A, Computer Science AB, Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science; Physics B, Physics C, Electricity and Magnetism, Physics C, Mechanics, English Language, and English Literature.
[For more information visit www.apcentral.collegeboard.com]

Q: HOW DO THE AP TRAINING AND INCENTIVES WORK?

NMSI is in the process of replicating across the country an AP Incentive program that originated in Dallas in 2000. That program, AP Strategies, provides incentive programs for AP and pre-AP mathematics, science, and English courses in Texas.
Similar NMSI programs around the country, will include extensive formal and informal training of teachers, additional time on task for students, financial incentives based on academic results, and the cultivation of Lead Teachers to provide leadership to the program in their schools by mentoring other teachers. Financial incentives also are provided to students who receive passing scores on Advanced Placement exams and to teachers who help them.
Thanks to APS assistance, participation in AP mathematics, science and English courses has grown dramatically. On average, over five years APS triples the number of students passing AP English exams, quadruples the number passing AP math exams, and quintuples the number passing AP science exams.
A 2007 analysis of the AP Strategies Training and Incentive program by Cornell economist C. Kirabo Jackson linked the program to a 30 percent rise in the number of students with high SAT and ACT scores and an 8 percent rise in college-going students. 
[For more information, visit www.apstrategies.org]

Q: WHAT IS UTEACH?

The UTeach program was created at the University of Texas at Austin to attract and prepare more college students for secondary teaching careers in mathematics and science without adding time or cost to their degree.
Hallmarks of the UTeach program include early and intensive field experience, frequent coaching from mentor and master teachers, and all education courses taught in the context of math and science.

OVER ITS 10 YEAR HISTORY, THE PROGRAM HAS HAD ENORMOUS SUCCESS:
  • The number of certified math and science teachers graduating has more than doubled to over 70 per year.
  • 90 percent of those that receive certification go on to teach immediately, compared to just 50% nationally.
  • 80 percent of those who enter teaching are still teaching four years after starting, compared with 60 percent nationally.
  • Almost half of graduates teach in schools where more than 40% of students receive free or reduced price lunch.
NMSI is awarding grants of up to $2.4 million each to the universities that start programs modeled after UTeach. A new generation of teachers now is being enrolled at 34 UTeach campuses.
[For more information about UTeach at the University of Texas at Austin, visit www.uteach.utexas.edu. For more information about UTeach replication, visit www.uteach-institute.org]

Q: HOW CAN I APPLY FOR A GRANT?

Timing of future grants will be determined by the implementation of the first round of grants and additional fundraising. When a new round of grants is opened, an email will be sent through our listserve announcing the competition. To join our listserve, please visit the Contact Us section of our website,www.nationalmathandscience.org.

Q: HOW CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

Please visit our website at www.nationalmathandscience.org or email info@nationalmathandscience.orgwith any questions.