New Report Shows the National Math & Science Initiative’s Long-Term Impact on Ensuring Equitable Access to STEM

Data show that across all race and ethnicity groups, students who participated in NMSI’s College Readiness Program are more likely to earn STEM degrees than the national average.

New data from the National Math and Science Initiative demonstrate the long-term impact of NMSI’s College Readiness Program in expanding learning outcomes and opportunities for all students. In a report released today, data suggest that compared to the national average, students enrolled in NMSI-supported Advanced Placement® courses are more likely to further their education and earn STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) degrees. The College Readiness Program expands access and achievement in high-quality, public STEM education, particularly among students underrepresented in STEM careers. View the full impact report here.

STEM education is widely recognized as a critical component in preparing students for success in postsecondary education and their future careers. A recent report shows that the U.S. will need to fill 3.5 million STEM jobs by 2025, with more than two million going unfilled due to a lack of highly skilled candidates. In addition, STEM inequities disproportionately affect young people of color, rural kids, kids in poverty, and girls. NMSI’s College Readiness Program is working to close the STEM gap for all students.

“Technology drives economies worldwide, and to keep up with the global economy, all students must be steeped in STEM education,” said Dr. Bernard Harris, former astronaut and CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative. “Right now, we have communities that don’t have access to STEM education. When that happens, not only do those communities lose, but we all lose. This report exemplifies the mission-critical work the College Readiness Program is doing to help level the playing field for all students.”

Key findings from the report include:

Postsecondary enrollment

  • 73% of NMSI students attended any postsecondary institution, exceeding the national average of 69%.
  • 57% of NMSI students attended four-year institutions, 25% more than non-NMSI students.
  • 74% of NMSI students who identify as Black attend postsecondary institutions compared to the national average of 65%.

Postsecondary persistence

  • Between 2015-2019, 90% of NMSI students persist in postsecondary institutions compared to the national average of 74%. The persistence rate across the five years remained steady for NMSI students.
  • 82% of Black students stay in postsecondary institutions compared to the national average of 66%.
  • 83% of NMSI students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch persist in postsecondary institutions compared to the national average of 74%.

STEM degrees

  • Across all race/ethnicity groups, nearly one-third of NMSI students earned STEM degrees compared to the national average of 18%.
  • The rate of STEM degree attainment for female NMSI students (25%) is more than twice the national average (12%).
  • 29% of NMSI students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch earn STEM degrees compared to the national average of 18%.

NMSI partners with high schools to expand access to rigorous coursework to traditionally underrepresented students through its College Readiness Program which includes training and support for teachers, leaders, and students. The program helps schools increase the number of students enrolled in A.P. math, science, computer science, English, social studies, art, and Spanish Language courses. The College Readiness Program has reached more than 1,400 public high schools across 36 states and D.C. After one year of the program, partner schools see an average 41% increase in A.P. participation and an average 35% increase in college readiness for all students, with similar increases for female, Black and Latino students.

“The goals of the College Readiness Program are to ensure equitable access and achievement based on community populations. Strong, long-term outcomes are evidence that the program is reaching these goals,” said Michelle Stie, Vice President of Teaching and Learning at NMSI. “Innovation and science literacy depends on a solid knowledge base in the STEM areas, and most future jobs will require a basic understanding of math and science. We will use these data to continue to evolve the program to meet the ever-changing needs of educators and students we serve.”

NMSI grounds its effectiveness in the measurable outcomes it achieves for educators and students. The impact of each program is regularly studied and measured across their partnering school systems, using independent, evidence-based practices. To judge the long-term impact of the College Readiness Program, NMSI compared College Board data for students enrolled in NMSI programs against national averages provided by the National Student Clearinghouse between 2015-2021.

Learn more about the College Readiness Program here.

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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