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NMSI Boosts Math and Science Success, Particularly for Females and Underrepresented Students

For the 10th consecutive year, students in the National Math and Science Initiative’s College Readiness Program substantially outpaced the average public school rate of growth in qualifying scores on Advanced Placement® exams in math, science and English. Increases in math and science achievement were particularly significant for female students, as well as African American and Latino students.

According to the College Board, which designs and administers AP exams, U.S. public high school students increased their number of qualifying scores in AP® math, science and English by 5.6 percent in 2017. At the 150 traditional and charter public schools implementing CRP for the first time, the increase was 44 percent. African-American and Latino students at those schools increased their number of qualifying scores in those subjects by 33 percent, while female students in the program increased their number of qualifying scores by 41 percent.

In math and science alone, African American and Latino students increased qualifying scores by 52 percent and female students earned 59 percent more qualifying scores.

“There are well-known gaps in the number of female and underrepresented minorities in the fast-growing STEM fields across our country,” said NMSI CEO Matthew Randazzo. “At the same time, the need for STEM skills and dispositions is growing across our economy. The success of all students in our College Readiness Program, particularly those furthest from opportunity, sets a critical foundation for wellbeing and prosperity earned by and benefiting everyone.”

Through the College Readiness Program, NMSI partners with schools to support students and teachers in rigorous and high-quality math, science and English courses without regard to ZIP code and other socio-economic indicators. Schools get data-driving partnerships for goal setting; teachers receive course-specific training, mentoring, year-round support and classroom-ready materials; and students have access to classroom and lab supplies, as well as specialized study sessions led by national experts.

Qualifying scores of 3 or higher on the AP’s 5-point scale illustrate mastery of college-level knowledge and skills in collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking. They also make students eligible for course credit at most U.S. colleges and universities. In combination, that success means students have skills, knowledge and confidence to succeed and lower cost barriers for post-secondary education and training.

“What’s been most impactful for me has been the study sessions, said Javonnie Barrett, a student at New York’s High School for Youth and Community Development at Eramus. “I was one of those that thought I wasn’t AP-ready.”

In addition to lowering barriers to college, a student who earns qualifying scores on AP exams has a higher likelihood of enrolling in a four-year college, returning for a second year and graduating in four years.
“We’re proud to partner with NMSI to ensure that prepared students everywhere gain access to the opportunities AP provides: college credit for the hard work they’ve done in their high school classrooms, and the development of skills necessary for college success,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president for AP & instruction. “NMSI is dramatically expanding the pipeline of students preparing for careers in critical STEM fields.”