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Up close: Education initiative - United States

Education is the fundamental building block of individual opportunity and economic growth, and STEM skills, in particular, are critical to ensuring today’s students are prepared for the jobs of the 21st century.  We have focused our U.S. education programs to help address the STEM challenge and are investing in those with the potential to make a meaningful national impact. We focus on three key areas: supporting highly qualified teachers in math and science; encouraging students from all backgrounds to pursue math and science; and graduating more students from high school ready for success in college and careers.

First-year increase in math and science AP test scores

In 2007, ExxonMobil joined with other companies and foundations to initiate a national public-private partnership to meet the STEM challenge in the United States: the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI). NMSI’s College Readiness Program dramatically increases the number of students enrolling and succeeding in AP, while expanding access to rigorous coursework to traditionally underrepresented students. Based on College Board data, the three-year increase in qualifying math and science exam scores among NMSI partner schools is 114 percent-- an increase of more than five times the national average. Among African-American and Hispanic students, the increase in qualifying scores is nearly three times the national average, and for female students, six times the national average. NMSI received a nearly $20 million Scale-up grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Investing in Innovation (i3) 2015 grant competition to expand its proven College Readiness Program  to ten urban and rural school districts across eight states, serving a high proportion of underserved students. As of 2016, the program has expanded to reach students in more than 1,050 schools across 34 states and the District of Columbia.

NMSI also supports in-service math and science teachers through its Laying the Foundation program, which provides educators of students in grades 3-12 with hands-on training, strategies and resources to raise academic rigor and prepare students to think critically and creatively at advanced levels. To date, nearly 50,000 teachers nationwide have participated in NMSI's Laying the Foundation and are now using their expertise to build the capacity of their schools and districts to advance student achievement at all grade levels. 

students participating in NMSI program, Ft Worth Texas
Photo — Students in Fort Worth, Texas, participating in NMSI’s College Readiness Program.

Another key NMSI program, UTeach, encourages undergraduate math and science majors to enter the teaching profession by offering an integrated-degree plan, financial assistance and early teaching experience. As of spring 2016, more than 2,600 undergraduates have graduated from UTeach programs at 44 universities in 21 states and the District of Columbia. According to UTeach Institute, graduates of UTeach programs are projected to teach more than 5 million secondary STEM students by 2020. Data from UTeach Institute also showed that ninety-seven percent of UTeach program graduates have obtained teaching credentials, and 87 percent of those have entered teaching. Seventy-six percent of UTeach graduates who entered teaching are still teaching, and 66 percent are working in schools with a majority economically disadvantaged population.

Since 2006, we have partnered with former astronaut Bernard Harris to increase diversity in STEM fields. Through the Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, we have helped more than 12,000 middle-school students from underrepresented and underserved populations attend these all expense paid residential camps to improve student knowledge of STEM subjects, encourage youth to stay in school, and foster leadership and citizenship.

Common Core State Standards

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to improve students’ chances of success in college and their careers. ExxonMobil is voicing its support for successful state implementation of the CCSS and aligned assessments. The states developed the Standards in a process initiated and led by the nation’s governors, state school superintendents, local educators, parents and business leaders. We are supporting states as they work to implement the Standards in their schools and are encouraging business leaders to advocate for improved educational outcomes for our students.

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