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Increasing Student Achievement With New NMSI Online Study Supports

Jane Pablico gives significant credit to her students’ successful Advanced Placement® exam scores to new NMSI online study supports.

After participating in a pilot for the NMSI supports during the last school year, the physics teacher says 2019 AP® exam results show several students’ scores increased from 3s to 4s (on a 1 to 5 scale) for this year when compared to 2018 scores. She also saw a jump in the number of students that are ready for college-level physics coursework – 90 percent – as compared with the previous school year (based on receiving a 2 or above on the AP exam).

“The online sessions contributed much to these scores, especially for the subjects we were cramming to complete toward the end of the school year,” says Pablico, who teaches at Walker High School in a suburb east of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “I had two more units to cover – electricity and the sound and waves unit – so I think they learned more from the online sessions than they did from class considering that we had to cram at the end of the year.”

Two of Pablico’s students who were seniors during the last school year – Casey Laiche and Jeremiah Riewarts – are now both college freshmen at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. They found the AP Physics online study supports particularly useful in each achieving a 4 on the exam. Pablico’s students could participate in seven NMSI online sessions during the school year.

“Every online instructor I had gave a perfect understanding of pace, according to student understanding,” says Riewarts, who is studying electrical engineering at Southeastern. “They could tell what a student knew about a certain subject, and they would change the pace of the subject if a student had a poor understanding of a subject. They would explain it in a simple way of understanding. If you knew one thing, they would move right along because you knew it. At one point, I used them to learn subjects we hadn’t even gone over in my class.”

While struggling with concepts about momentum, Riewarts says the online supports helped to introduce a number of concepts and formulas, which was “very helpful for someone to sit down and explain it for me and refresh my knowledge.”

Laiche struggled with the electricity unit and says NMSI’s online sessions were useful in working through this physics subject. “It gave me additional stuff to review,” says Laiche, who is studying computer science at Southeastern. “I was getting the concepts of electricity mixed up, but looking over the screenshots of PowerPoint, the [online] teacher told me about the difference between circuits, and it really cleared it up and helped me on the exam.”


Online Benefits
The online study supports give students a chance to complete each one at their own convenience, which is unlike the in-person study sessions.

“They get to choose a schedule that works for them when they register,” Pablico says. “There are so many time options for them, so I think that’s an advantage to the student because if they only have the Saturday [in-person] session, some of them have to go to work then, so that’s a problem for them.”

The flexible online session times were appealing to Riewarts. Each physics unit had multiple dates that were spread out. So, if students wanted to complete the subjects all in one week, they could, or they had the option to spread it out over two or three months.

Laiche liked being able to easily open the sessions on his laptop or phone, saying it was “really simple to use and not a giant learning barrier.” His online instructors allowed students to interact and share what they were thinking about a problem, which then gave the teacher time to provide feedback on their answers.  

“You used your mouse to choose a different colored pencil to draw a question and write out how you would solve the problem,” Laiche says. “It’s almost like putting pen to paper.”

Laiche also liked having access to a variety of teachers online with different teaching methods that provide various ways of thinking about the subjects.

For the online class format, Riewarts says it varied between being a one-on-one with the instructor or up to a dozen students attending the same one. While there’s benefits to one-on-one time, Riewarts also liked participating with students from different parts of the country.

“Some of the students had insightful knowledge of things I didn’t know,” he says.


Teacher Supports
Pablico made a point to share the success she’s had with online study sessions with her trainer at the Dallas NMSI College Readiness Program Summer Institute in July. Walker High is in its third year as a CRP partner school for 2019-20.

“I love how we have access to new [NMSI] materials,” Pablico says. “I have mentors from NMSI. That’s a cool thing because I can just email them and ask what things they do for a certain topic. It helps a lot for what we’ll do in class. My mentor last year brought me an old turntable record player for me to use in my class for a topic on circular motion. I also use the NMSI AP exam online resources, which are the ones I give my students, so they are familiar with the type of questions that come out during the AP exam.”

Interested in learning more about NMSI’s online student study supports, which officially launched this school year? Contact us.