Ultimately, BEAM's success will be measured by the number of students who are successfully able to enter STEM careers.
In the interim, we track indicators that show whether students are on the pathway toward STEM success.
Middle School: Summer Growth
BEAM begins with summer programs for rising 7th and 8th graders (BEAM Discovery and BEAM Summer Away, respectively). BEAM aims to measure two areas of student growth during the summer:
Mathematical problem solving (generally through pre-tests and post-tests).
Persistence and interest in mathematics.
We assess mathematical growth using math contests, the best tool we have found to measure problem solving at the level of BEAM instruction. Using math contests, we see how students’ starting and ending scores compare to students who are already advanced in mathematics. Generally, only top math students even take these exams, and they are largely from affluent backgrounds.
Problem Solving at BEAM Discovery
BEAM Discovery uses the Math League contest to measure growth. The chart below summarizes the median student’s national placement at the beginning of the summer and the end.
2018 Summer Growth, Median Percentile Ranking
Problem Solving at BEAM Summer Away
BEAM Summer Away uses the AMC 8 to measure growth. The chart below summarizes the median student’s national placement at the beginning of the summer and the end.
2018 Summer Growth, Median Percentile Ranking
Persistence: “What’s the longest you’ve spent on a math problem?”
In addition, we measure student stamina on problem solving by tracking the longest students have spent solving a single math problem, asking this question at the start and end of each summer. Before BEAM Discovery, the median answer was 30 minutes. By the end of BEAM Discovery, it became 2 days!
High School: Providing a foundation
In New York City, BEAM examines high schools to determine which schools provide the best foundation for STEM college study. These schools, which we label Tier 1 high schools, offer Calculus* and ensure that students graduate ready for college.
Where do BEAM Students Attend High School?
|Cohort||Attending Tier 1 Schools||Attending Tier 1, Tier 2, or Trusted Schools|
Tier 1 high schools include: all specialized schools in NYC (such as Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech); Bard High School Early College; the Beacon School; Midwood High School; Townsend Harris High School; Millennium High School; Manhattan/Hunter Science High School; and Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics, all schools that BEAM students attend. Admission to the specialized high schools is especially notable because of the recent press surrounding the very small number of minority students admitted to these schools. At Stuyvesant, for example, out of 895 students admitted in 2019, only 7 were Black. One of those seven is a BEAM alumna.
*Note: Only 40% of New York City’s public high schools offer calculus. Fewer than 10% of the New York City’s public high schools meet the BEAM Tier 1 criteria.
Andy attended BEAM in 2013 and went on to Bronx High School of Science (Bronx Science). He is now a first year student at CUNY’s Baruch College, where he plans to major in finance.
Camila attended BEAM Discovery in 2016 and joined the BEAM Pathway Program in 2017. She went on to the Bard High School Early College. She is also a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars award.
College: The Pathway to STEM Success
BEAM’s oldest cohort, BEAM 2011, are now juniors in college, so we will not have 4-year graduation rates until 2020 (and some students may take five years to graduate college). In the interim, we track college admissions and major declaration to ensure students are on track to college graduation.
Measuring college admissions, here are the outcomes for the 34 of the students in the BEAM 2013 cohort, our most recent cohort to graduate high school:
One additional student from this cohort, not counted above, took an additional year in high school and was admitted Early Decision to Dartmouth. Four additional students, not counted above, are out of contact with BEAM at this time.
Among the BEAM 2011 cohort, our students have now declared majors in biology, computer science, mathematics, and physics, and we expect more great news from these students soon!
Fatimatou (Fatima) joined the BEAM Pathway Program in 2011. In 2014, she spent the summer at Mathworks Honors Summer Math Camp at Texas State, where she learned number theory. Fatima is a junior at Manhattan College, which she attends thanks to a STEM merit scholarship. She is majoring in biology, on a pre-med track. She may add a math minor!
Zavier joined the BEAM Pathway Program in 2011. In 2014, he spent the summer at All Star Code, learning to program. He spent the following summer at Microsoft, where he had a paid internship. He has since taught at a maker space and TAed computer programming for BEAM. Zavier attends the University at Albany (SUNY), where he is majoring in computer science and minoring in studio art.
Other markers of success: Continued Advanced Study
After BEAM’S summer residential program, students go on to further programs for advanced study. Dozens of students leave to programs such as the Center for Talented Youth, MathPath, the MathWorks Honors Summer Math Camp at Texas State University, the New York Math Circle, Cooper Union Summer STEM Program, Carleton College Summer Quantitative Reasoning Institute, the NYU Science and Technology Entry Program, and many more; most of them go on full scholarship. In this way, students can continue their advanced study and explore the many opportunities available to them.