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NMSI Blog

NMSI Program Boosts AP Achievement in Pittsburgh Schools

NMSI continues to garner national media attention for its efforts to transform math and science education in schools across the country. As reported in The New York Times, students at two Pittsburgh high schools have made marked progress in Advanced Placement* (AP) math and science coursework after just one year of NMSI’s College Readiness Program.
 
Last year, support from The Heinz Endowments enabled expansion of NMSI’s College Readiness Program to two Pittsburgh high schools—Brashear High School and Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy. Although both schools had previously offered AP courses, few students actually succeeded in passing their exams. Prior to adoption of NMSI’s program, only 159 of Brashear’s 1,400 students enrolled in AP math and science courses, and nearly two-thirds did not take the exams; of those students who did, only 10 earned a total of 13 passing scores.
 
But after their year one (of three) of NMSI’s College Readiness Program, students have made marked progress. In a postscript to his May 4, 2014 article profiling NMSI’s Pittsburgh schools, Kenneth Chang of The New York Times notes that out of the 289 high schools in the state with at least nine passing scores for the 2012-13 school year, the Science & Technology Academy had the largest percentage increase in passing scores in 2013-14. Brashear had the second greatest. More specifically, Brashear saw a 154 percent increase in the number of passing scores, jumping up to 33 from 13. The Science & Technology Academy saw an even greater jump from 9 to 32. Enrollment in AP science and math classes at Brashear has also risen to 469 from 328. 
 
Jaclyn Castma, AP project manager for the Pittsburgh schools, notes the success at Brashear will help persuade teachers and administrators to cast aside the notion that only the top students should take AP coursework.
 
*Advanced Placement and AP are registered trademarks of the College Board.