Progress Report to Department of Defense Education Activity

The National Math + Science Initiative (NMSI) and the Department of Defense’s education division (DODEA) have formed an honorable alliance: Through a grant from DODEA, NMSI has targeted schools with high concentrations of military-connected students in an effort to boost the number who pass AP exams and, ultimately, enroll in college. Implemented in twenty-nine public high schools (which educate 20,000 students total) in 2011–12, the program already serves fifty-two institutions and will expand to eighty in 2013–14. This report explains the year-one program findings. Participating schools saw a 64 percent increase in the number of passing scores on AP math, science, and English exams (nine times the average increase nationally) and an 85 percent increase in passing scores on AP math and science exams (more than eight times the average increase nationally). It achieved these gains via a tripartite strategy: First, it ran summer courses for existing AP and pre-AP teachers focusing on math, science, and English content. Second, it instituted Saturday study sessions for the schools’ AP students, conducted by “expert AP teachers” (though the report fails to define what “expert” means here). And third, it offered AP teachers and administrators small performance bonuses for student improvement. Promising indeed!

SOURCE: National Math + Science Initiative, Progress Report to Department of Defense Education Activity (Dallas, TX: National Math + Science Initiative, for the Department of Defense Education Activity, January 2013).

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