From July 16-20, more than 140 teachers participated in workshops that Eastern hosted to enhance instruction in Advanced Placement (AP) courses. The summer institute covered introductory AP biology, experienced AP biology, AP English language and AP English literature. The workshops are designed to help increase the awareness of AP classes within school systems and provide teachers with methods to enhance their students' knowledge in the areas of math, science and English.
The workshops are a collaborative initiative between Eastern, Project Opening Doors (POD) and Project Step2Stem. Project Opening Doors is funded by a grant from the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI); Project Step2Stem is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Both grants work in partnership with EASTCONN, which runs both programs.
Studies have shown a steady decline of American students pursuing math and science courses. According to the NMSI website, only 18 percent of 12th-grade students performed at or above the proficiency level in science. Project Opening Doors has helped to raise these figures -- the number of students in AP math and science increased 12 percent in 2009, which is twice the national average and three times the average in the state of Connecticut, according to the POD website.
Here in Connecticut, in nine schools participating in the Project Open Doors program, the pass rate among students taking AP math, science and English exams rose to 38 percent compared to the state average of 13 percent.