Advanced Placement exams will take place next month in schools around the country. If you’re wondering why this event is on the radar for an oil and gas company, you could say we’re heavily invested in the outcome.
Students who pass an AP exam are three times more likely to graduate from college. That means that if we can get more students to take and pass AP exams – especially in math and science – U.S. companies including ExxonMobil will have a greater pool of talent from which to recruit. And the greater the pool of talent, the more likely it is that we will develop the next generation of engineers, scientists and innovators in energy and many other fields.
It’s reasoning like this that led ExxonMobil to commit $125 million as a founding sponsor of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) in 2007. In just a few short years, we’re already seeing the return on investment. One of NMSI’s signature programs is the Advanced Placement Training and Incentive Program, which encourages high school students to take college-level AP classes in subjects such as calculus, chemistry and physics. From 2008 to 2010, students at NMSI schools achieved an overall 98 percent increase in math, science and English AP exams passed – more than seven times the national average.
Those are impressive results. But even more impressive are the stories behind the students who are taking and passing more AP exams thanks to NMSI’s AP program. You can read more and watch videos of the students and teachers who are making U.S. math and science education stronger through AP at myNMSIstory.com.
The students were also featured in television advertising over the weekend on CBS, and I’ve included one of the ads here. Tommy, from Windham High School in Willimantic, Conn., talks about how AP classes have given him direction and the skills to pursue an engineering degree.
With AP exams, we’re not just testing American students. We’re testing U.S. competitiveness. Three decades ago, the United States ranked third among developed nations for college students earning science and engineering degrees. Now, about 20 other countries rank ahead of us in these vital subjects. It’s time to reverse this trend, and NMSI’s AP program is a step in the right direction.