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Alabama STEM Initiative Produces Math, Science Gains

The National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance has released a report looking at the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI).

AMSTI is a two-year program implemented by the state Department of Education that aims to boost student performance in science and math from grades K-12. Schools that are accepted to participate receive professional development for teachers; materials, equipment, and supplies for the classroom; and on-site support provided by science and math specialists. Schools are competitively selected. Math and science teachers and administrators must attend a 10-day summer institute two years in a row and participate in school-year professional development. In addition, 80 percent of math and teachers from the school must participate.

The report, "Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative," evaluated results beginning in school year 2006-2007.

Some of the results of the study are:

  • After one year, schools participating in the program saw an increase of two percentile points in math by students in grades 4 to 8 on the Stanford Achievement Test Tenth Edition as compared to a control group. This equals 28 more days of progress than students not in the program. After two years, AMSTI School math students in the same grades showed a gain of four percentile points in comparison to the control group. Students in the program saw the equivalent of 50 additional days of progress;
  • Following one year, student improvement in science was minimal. However, over two years AMSTI participants saw their results in science five percentile points higher than non-participants;
  • Scores from the Stanford Achievement Test Tenth Edition reading assessment of students in grades 4 to 8 were two percentile points higher than students not in the program. This is equivalent to an additional 40 days of student progress.

The study was produced by staff at the Academy for Educational Development, the Regional Educational Laboratory-Southeast at Serve Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Empirical Education, and Abt Associates.

For more information and the complete results of the study, visit the AMSTI Web site.

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Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @editortim.