Education

Access to AP Courses in STEM to Grow With $5M Google Gift

By Erik W. Robelen — December 04, 2012 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Fueled by a $5 million grant from the technology company Google, more than 800 public high schools will be invited to start up Advanced Placement STEM courses with a focus on attracting more female and minority students who show strong potential to succeed.

The new program—to be developed by the College Board in collaboration with the nonprofit DonorsChoose.org, the grant recipient—will work directly with teachers in qualifying schools to help them obtain the training and classroom resources they need to launch AP courses.

“There are hundreds of thousands of talented students in this country who are being left out of the STEM equation,” said Jacquelline Fuller, the director of giving at Google, in a press release. “We’re focused on creating equal access to advanced math and science courses, and ensuring that advanced classrooms become as diverse as the schools themselves.”

Google’s gift was part of a larger set of seven grants announced today under what it’s calling Global Impact Awards. One other grant is focused on education. It will provide $1.8 million to the nonprofit Equal Opportunity Schools to identify 6,000 students who are deemed ready for more advanced coursework but not enrolled in such classes, and help move them into those classes.

Under the AP-focused grant, schools will be eligible to receive funding to start one or more AP courses in STEM subjects. They will receive awards ranging from $1,200 to $9,000, depending on the subject, for each new course. The money will be used for professional development to prepare teachers, as well as to acquire classroom materials, lab and technology equipment, and other resources to support the new STEM courses.

The new program will target a set of more than 800 high schools, identified through several criteria, that are deemed to have a population of students traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields but who are ready for advanced coursework in those disciplines. One criteria was that each school during the 2010-11 academic year had 10 or more African American, Hispanic, American Indian, or Alaskan Native students, and/or 25 or more female students, with “high potential to be successful in one or more AP STEM courses that were not offered in their school,” the press release said. These figures are pegged to their performance on specific sections of the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

“The data exists to identify students who have the ability to achieve but otherwise aren’t getting [access],” Chris Busselle, a program manager at Google, told me. “We’re excited about taking a data-driven approach to decreasing those gaps and increasing access for girls and underrepresented minorities.”

The College Board press release cites data showing wide variation in AP coursetaking among students with the same high academic potential to succeed in STEM subjects. It notes, for instance, that in 2011, only three in 10 black and Hispanic students participated in AP math courses. It also points to disproportionately low rates of females taking some STEM courses. For a deeper analysis of this latter issue, check out this blog post I wrote earlier this year.

In many cases, the College Board says, students did not take AP math and science courses because they were not available. In some instances, however, minority and female students simply did not participate and “the diversity of those classrooms frequently did not reflect the diversity of the school overall.”

In addition to the grants to help teachers start AP courses, they will get another incentive. All AP teachers who increase the diversity of the student body in their classrooms will receive a $100 DonorsChoose.org gift card for each student who scores a 3 or higher on an AP STEM exam. Teachers can use the gift cards to pay for additional classroom resources.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP