OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- State School Superintendent Janet Barresi said Tuesday that students at the six Oklahoma schools participating in the National Math and Science Initiative program showed a 55 percent increase on advanced placement exam scores in math, science and English after the first year of the program.
"Our students are truly being prepared for the rigorous coursework they can expect in college," Barresi said. "They've learned strategies in how to succeed ... how to take better notes, how to write better, critical thinking, how to communicate."
A score of three on the exams, which measure a student's knowledge in the subject area and are scored from one to five, is considered passing and eligible for college credit.
The program, which costs an estimated $150,000 annually, is partially offset by financial support from private companies, NMSI senior regional director Dale Fleury said.
About 550 students in Oklahoma are part of the national program.
Tayshawnya Edwards, a senior at Midwest City High School, said taking advanced placement courses while competing in basketball and track and field was almost too much at first.
"It was hard, I wanted to back out once," Edwards said. "I didn't want to go home and do four hours of homework and go to bed at 2 a.m. and still not be finished."
She said teachers trained under the NMSI program helped her learn how to manage her time and complete the courses.
Alex Tu, a senior at Carl Albert High School, said working with the program's teachers helped him to work independently.
"It encourages you to think through problems and solve them," Tu said.
In addition to Carl Albert and Midwest City, the program is also in place at Eisenhower, MacArthur, Lawton and Del City high schools. Barresi said the program will be added at Tulsa Memorial, U.S. Grant and Enid high schools next year.
NMSI is a nonprofit organization created in 2007 by business, education and science leaders.