Closing the Achievement Gap in Math and Science

The latest results from the National Science Foundation‘s Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program show that elementary and middle-school students have improved their proficiency in math and science, and that the achievement gaps between African-American and Hispanic students and white students in elementary school math, and between African-American and white students in elementary and middle-school science, are narrowing. The MSP program supports institutions of higher education and K-12 schools by partnering higher education science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) faculty with K-12 teachers for mentoring and professional development. The most recent results are collected from schools where MSP projects target specific improvements in math or science programs. Data was taken from three years of student scores on state proficiency tests in math and science. Between 2003 and 2006, among approximately 39,000 students at 160 schools, the scores of white students performing at or above proficiency rose 4.6 percent, while the scores of Hispanic students rose 18.3 percentage points, and the scores of African-American students rose 17.9 percent. Asian-American, special education, and limited English students also showed improvements. MSP is now working to determine which strategies had the greatest impact on raising test scores.
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