Mass Math + Science Initiative

Why the Mass Math + Science Initiative?

Congratulations MMSI schools on your 2013 results!

MMSI more than doubles participation and performance in Advanced Placement math, science, and English in 5 years (2008-2013)

View the 2013 results from MMSI 2012-13.

The Massachusetts economy demands a talented workforce of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals, yet every year thousands of promising students leave high school without having taken the challenging courses required to succeed in these fields.

Moreover, achievement and access gaps persist in Advanced Placement (AP)* and other college-level math and science courses, particularly among Black and Hispanic students, female students, and students from low-income families. In 2008, only 65 African-American public school students in Massachusetts passed an AP science exam.

The Mass Math + Science Initiative (MMSI), the state’s largest high school math and science program aimed at underserved students, has expanded access to rigorous, college-level Advanced Placement courses in over 60 high schools across the Commonwealth.

School year 2012-2013 kicked off with 12 new schools jumping in for a great fifth year of the Mass Math + Science Initiative (MMSI). One of the program’s goals is expanding access for all students to AP math, science, and English (MSE) courses via an open enrollment policy in all our schools, with a particular focus on underserved populations. With 61 schools participating across Massachusetts last year, MMSI schools showed an encouraging 118% increase in participation in AP MSE courses since entering the program.

The MMSI program relies on multiple resources and support systems to help schools reach their performance goals each year. Among them are our world-class professional development AP Summer Institute and 2-Day sessions, Saturday student study sessions, and content support from our experienced math, science, and English directors. With the support systems in place, MMSI students have displayed a 114% increase in qualifying scores on AP MSE exams (a score of 3 or higher on an AP test) since their schools entered the program. Meanwhile, from 2008 to 2013, AP qualifying scores throughout non-MMSI schools in Massachusetts have increased at a rate of 43%, while national AP qualifying scores have increased at a rate of 32%.

MMSI Executive Chairman, Michael Contompasis says, “In 2013, our schools have continued to impact our students’ success. Our students and teachers prove - every time they attend a Saturday student study session or a teacher training – that when you focus efforts on excellence, you get results.”

In alignment with MMSI’s mission to increase participation and performance for low income and minority students, for every 1,000 juniors and seniors enrolled in AP courses, 83 African American and Hispanic MMSI students received qualifying scores on 2013 MSE AP exams. In comparison, only 58 of every 1,000 juniors and seniors enrolled in other Massachusetts schools received qualifying scores (with a national rate of 49 for every 1,000).

Within Massachusetts, MMSI is proud to recognize that four of our schools placed in the top 10 for minority students achieving math and science qualifying sores – with John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science placing at #1 in the state. Chelsea High School came in at #4, while Burncoat High School in Worcester tied in 8th place with Central High School in Springfield. Additionally, two MMSI schools topped the state’s ranking of minority students with qualifying scores in AP science courses – with Chelsea High School and John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science in first and second, respectively.

These results are especially exciting considering the continually increasing need for STEM professionals in the workforce, and the struggle for schools to increase student interest and success in STEM subjects order to keep up those demands. We hope our MMSI students will use their math and science AP courses as a starting point for considering college majors and future careers in STEM.

With our 2013 momentum, MMSI projects a great school year for 2013-2014. During our 6th year, MMSI will be working with 64 schools – with 13 new schools entering the full program, and 18 schools transitioning to our new Sustaining Partnership Program (SPP). The SPP is a voluntary membership program offered to schools following the completion of their initial Letter of Agreement (LOA) with MMSI. The purpose of the program is to maintain and continue to expand student achievement and teacher capacity in AP MSE courses. The SPP provides schools the opportunity to continue to access selected services and components of the MMSI program to achieve this purpose. Here’s to another great year!

Additional Facts:

• MMSI students showed a 137% increase in qualifying scores of 4’s from 2008 to 2013, and a 105% increase in a score of 5 (a score of 4 is equivalent to a B to A- and a 5 is equivalent to an A in a college course).

• Despite making up only 18% of MA high school juniors and seniors, MMSI students contribute 25% of the state’s MSE qualifying scores on AP exams.

• Additionally, MMSI students contribute 41% of the math, science, and English qualifying scores achieved by African American students, and 44% of those achieved by low income students.

•MMSI female students contribute 26% of the math and science (STEM fields) qualifying scores for the state.

•Overall, MMSI qualifying scores increased at a 15% rate over the 2012-2013 school year, while MA improved at a 10% rate overall, and the nation improved at a rate of 7%.

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