How NMSI is Making a Difference

Everyone seems to be talking about how this country needs to do a better job of educating our children. But the National Math + Science Initiative is one of the few organizations that is actually transforming education, changing the lives of tens of thousands of students in the process. NMSI doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Instead, we identify and replicate proven programs that can be scaled up and rolled out nationally to make an impact in classrooms today. Our programs have been proven to produce immediate results that can be sustained over time.

For example, NMSI is strengthening teaching in America by working with existing schools and teachers to improve teacher training and enhance the classroom experience for students. Separately, NMSI works with universities to place more math and science majors in the pipeline to pursue careers in teaching, ensuring that children will be taught by qualified teachers who know their subjects. Overall, NMSI’s programs encourage more children to develop an interest in math and science, and help schools reach new levels of academic excellence – building a much-needed college-ready culture in America’s schools. 

Improving how STEM subjects are taught.

NMSI recognizes that real change must begin in the classroom, and NMSI is transforming STEM education by focusing on the most critical element in education – teaching. Our programs not only improve the effectiveness of existing teachers, but also produce more qualified teachers who are ready to enter the profession.

In grades 3-12, NMSI provides content-based, teacher-to-teacher coaching through its Laying the Foundation teaching training program, supported by rigorous classroom-ready lessons and web-based resources to improve the quality of math, science and English instruction. Based on our data-driven analysis of schools and detailed input from teachers, we develop training programs that are delivered by teacher trainers who have been successful in similar environments and who know from experience what works in the classroom. Through its College Readiness Program, NMSI also provides online resources for both students and their teachers, including screencasts of teaching sessions, so students can replay videos of specific lessons until they have mastered the material.  Our online forums, which provide content support, create a community of continuous learning and support for teachers.

To answer the urgent call for more qualified math and science instructors in our schools, NMSI has replicated the University of Texas at Austin’s highly successful UTeach Program for teacher education in 34 American universities – and the program is growing to more colleges each year. At these universities, the NMSI UTeach Expansion Program enables students majoring in math, science, computer science or engineering to receive full teaching certification without adding time or cost to their STEM degrees. UTeach graduates, nearly half of whom choose to teach in high-poverty schools, are well prepared to boost their students’ math and science literacy, equipping them to function as part of a workforce that is increasingly dependent on science and technology. The program has grown from 1,100 math and science majors in the first cohort in 2007 to more than 6,700 students on 34 campuses in 2013.

Learn more about NMSI’s Laying the Foundation Program. Learn more about NMSI’s College Readiness Program. Learn more about NMSI’s UTeach Expansion Program.
Fostering student interest in math and science.

Student achievement in STEM begins with an interest in STEM, and this interest must be seeded at an early age and encouraged to grow over time. NMSI’s teacher training programs for grades 3-12 help teachers inspire students to develop an interest in and succeed in rigorous math and science courses. Our programs also expand the number of traditionally underrepresented students achieving at high levels.

During the formative years of grades 3-5, NMSI’s Laying the Foundation teacher training program helps teachers work through model lessons and discuss strategies for engaging students with interesting content while building conceptual understanding.  Content is vertically aligned to NMSI’s middle and high school materials, and lessons include interdisciplinary enhancements that create connections between STEM subjects and other subjects such as fine arts and music. 

NMSI’s College Readiness Program, in 560 high schools today, dramatically increases the number of students taking and passing rigorous math, science and English exams, and expands access to traditionally underrepresented students.  After the first year, NMSI almost doubles the number of students passing advanced classes in math, science and English in participating schools. This means we are opening doors to college success for under served student populations who have not had the encouragement to tackle challenging coursework in math and science before now.

Learn more about NMSI’s Laying the Foundation Program. Learn more about NMSI’s College Readiness Program.
Building a college-ready culture.

Children who graduate from college are better prepared to enter the workforce and achieve success in their careers. But preparation is key – not all children who graduate from high school today are ready to tackle the transition to college and the rigorous studies that college will bring.

NMSI’s College Readiness Program is now boosting academic achievement in more than 560 schools across 22 states – from Connecticut to California.  We are changing school leadership’s expectations of students by encouraging more students to take college-level math and science courses and then equipping them to succeed. We are raising the academic bar in public schools by demonstrating that more students can master rigorous Advanced Placement coursework, especially in math and science.  

The typical school applying the NMSI College Readiness Program starts out 32% below the national average in test scores. After one year those schools are performing 14% above the national average, and after three years are performing 46% above the national average. The schools in our program make up approximately 2 percent of all schools in the United States – and yet these schools alone account for 7.5 percent of the country’s overall increase in qualifying math, science and English AP test scores.  When we go into a state, we lift the entire state’s AP performance and, as a result, our participating states lead the country in AP test scores. We have achieved similar success with our unique program designed to transform schools that serve military families.

How students perform on the AP exam is the best indicator available of whether students are prepared for college-level work. Students passing AP exams in high school are three times more likely to earn a college degree than students who do not pass, and African American and Hispanic students who pass an AP exam are four times more likely. Furthermore, a 2010 study found that NMSI students were 22 percent more likely to continue in college than students not enrolled in the program.

Learn more about NMSI’s College Readiness Program. Learn more about NMSI’s focus on military families.