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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Program Shows Improvement in Student Proficiency in Math, Science

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has released its first national impact report assessing the NSF Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program, which was established in 2002 to integrate the work of higher education with K-12 to strengthen and reform mathematics and science education.

The most dramatic increases were documented by elementary grade students in mathematics, where 7.2 percent more students achieved or exceeded proficiency from 2002-2003 to 2003-2004, followed by an increase of 6.5 percent from 2003-2004 to 2004-2005, NSF says.

The document reports progress on improving teacher quality, quantity and diversity; developing challenging courses and curricula; emphasizing evidence-based design and outcomes; and promoting institutional change. It highlights examples of partnerships at all levels of education in communities across the country, and outlines impacts on student proficiency and benefits of professional development for teachers.

"The work of the MSP program is critical in order for students to gain the necessary skills to both prosper in a science and technology-driven society and to meet the increasing challenges of a global economy," says Arden Bement, Jr., NSF director. "The MSP program is a successful model of partnering among universities and K-12 schools and corporations. As a comprehensive approach to build the learning capacity of both students and teachers, MSP develops the next generation of skilled science and technology workers."

Projects in the current MSP portfolio are expected to impact more than 141,500 science and mathematics teachers and 4.2 million students in more than 550 local school districts. Since its inception, MSP has funded 89 projects.

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