Education

Ocean Springs High’s test scores ‘ridiculous’ — in a good way

Ocean Springs High School students get their hands dirty during an environmental science class.
Ocean Springs High School students get their hands dirty during an environmental science class. Ocean Springs High School

When Ocean Springs High School accepted a math and science grant for the 2012-13 school year, officials hoped it would increase test scores in Advanced Placement testing. But three years later, the results have exceeded anything they could have predicted.

In fact, test results “might best be described as ridiculous,” Assistant Principal Justin Sutton said.

The number of students who earned qualifying scores in AP math and science exams increased by more than 2,100 percent since the 2012-13 school year, when the grant was administered. Students also showed a more than 1,200 percent increase on AP math, science and English exams in the same time frame.

Ocean Springs implemented the National Math and Science Initiative at the high school through a grant from the Office of Naval Research. NMSI is both publicly and privately funded. It’s dedicated to increasing STEM education in the United States and trains teachers with subject-specific training.

All teachers in the Ocean Springs School District have been able to attend training designed to prepare students for the rigors of AP courses, Sutton said. Additionally, the grant has provided supplies for AP classes and opportunities for Saturday study sessions.

In its first year, the school had seven qualifying scores in AP math and science courses and 11 in AP English courses. By 2016, that number jumped to 81 in science, 73 in math and 92 in English exams.

Students also surpassed the state, national and global average AP scores in human geography, United States history, U.S. government and politics and microeconomics. Test results in social studies rival or surpass the success of students around the world, Sutton said.

“Our partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative has provided us with a unique opportunity to better prepare teachers and students for the rigors of AP courses,” said Ocean Springs High School Principal Vickie Tiblier. “Overall, this has been a win-win situation for Ocean Springs High School and NMSI, and we are fortunate to have had this opportunity.”

NMSI’s College Readiness Program has been implemented in more than 1,000 schools across 34 states.

Justin Vicory: 228-896-2326, @justinvicory

Original Year

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

3-Year Total

2012-2013

2013-2014

2014-2015

2015-2016

11

94

97

92

283

English

7

41

27

73

141

Math

0

60

63

81

204

Science

18

195

187

246

628

Total

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