OKLAHOMA CITY, Aug. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of high school students in Oklahoma are headed back to school this year with higher scores on their Advanced Placement* (AP) exams thanks to the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI). NMSI's Comprehensive AP program works to improve student performance in rigorous math, science and English courses.
Among the six state schools from Lawton Public Schools and Mid-Del School District that currently partner with NMSI, the number of students who earned a passing score of three or more on the math, science and English five-point AP exam scale increased by more than 50 percent within the program's first year compared to 8.6 percent in Oklahoma and 7.2 percent nationally. The results were even more impressive in AP math and science courses, where passing exam scores improved by 150 percent in the first year compared to 14.6 percent in Oklahoma and 8.2 percent nationally. Students who earn passing scores are eligible for college credit at most colleges and universities.
"Oklahoma's students and teachers are a testament to what's possible when we work together to explore untapped potential in the classroom," said Sara Martinez Tucker, CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative. "By increasing access to rigorous courses and giving teachers the training and resources they need to help their students excel, we're preparing the next generation for success – both in college and future careers."
Before the NMSI program was introduced to six Oklahoma schools, African-American, Hispanic and female students accounted for just 15.9 percent of passing scores on AP math, science and English exams. After just one year, minorities and females accounted for 24 percent of the state's passing scores on AP exams.
"This significant improvement among our minority students is welcome news as we continually work to close achievement gaps," said state superintendent Janet Barresi. "We must ensure all of our students are prepared for the rigors of college coursework and their future careers. This is of particular importance in STEM subjects, as science, technology, engineering and math skills are in great demand in the work force. The work of NMSI and corporate partners helps us ensure we are reaching more students and improving their chances of future success."
Policymakers and educators gathered at the state capitol today to celebrate the improved AP test results. Participants included Dr. Janet Barresi, Oklahoma state superintendent of public instruction; Nathan Slate, site manager at Northrop Grumman Corporation; Dale Fleury, senior regional director for NMSI; and Oklahoma students.
At the event, NMSI announced a new public private partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Education to implement the comprehensive AP Program combined with the NMSI STEM teacher training program at Tulsa Memorial, Ulysses S. Grant and Enid high schools. The three schools combined are expected to increase passing scores in AP math, science and English by 253 percent over the three-year life of the grant.
"We are proud to be able to provide grants and partner with NMSI's AP program for military families," said Adrian B. Talley, deputy director of the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity. "The expansion of this program for students attending Oklahoma high schools opens a new level of opportunity and possibility for children and their peers to excel in math and science. This investment in the AP program for math and science is truly transformational and raises the bar academically in our public schools. We are pushing for this program to be in all our schools because the results are proven, consistent, and speak for themselves."
Eisenhower and Carl Albert high schools were the first two schools to adopt the NMSI program in 2011. Earlier this year, Eisenhower High School was recognized as NMSI "School of the Year" for record-setting gains in AP achievement. In those two years, Eisenhower and Carl Albert high schools AP math, science and English passing exam scores increased by 116 percent. This number nearly doubled in math and science disciplines where AP passing scores increased by 229 percent – compared to 17 percent nationally.
"Over the past couple of years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of my students who want to pursue chemistry or a career in engineering," said Katherine Hergenrether, AP chemistry and calculus teacher at Eisenhower High School. "My goal is to make future scientists, engineers and technology leaders in the world, and I know that I'm doing that with the help of NMSI."
The remaining four schools, Lawton, MacArthur, Del City and Midwest City high schools are entering their second year.
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. During the 2012-2013 school year, the program expanded to reach 530 schools in 22 states.
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.
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SOURCE National Math and Science Initiative