Studies Find Benefits to Advanced Placement Courses

Jay Matthews:

In the midst of a national debate over whether Advanced Placement courses place too much pressure on U.S. high school students, a team of Texas researchers has concluded that the difficult courses and three-hour exams are worth it.
In the largest study ever of the impact of AP on college success, which looked at 222,289 students from all backgrounds attending a wide range of Texas universities, the researchers said they found “strong evidence of benefits to students who participate in both AP courses and exams in terms of higher GPAs, credit hours earned and four-year graduation rates.”
A separate University of Texas study of 24,941 students said those who used their AP credits to take more advanced courses in college had better grades in those courses than similar students who first took college introductory courses instead of AP in 10 subjects.

Madison United for Acadmic Excellence has a useful comparison of AP and other “advanced” course offerings across the four traditional Madison high schools. Much more on local AP classes here.
Wisconsin Advanced Placement Distance Learning Consortium.
Verona High School Course Prospectus, including AP.
Middleton High School Course List.
Monona Grove High School Course Catalog [320K PDF]
Sun Prairie High School Courses.
Waunakee High School Course Index.
McFarland High School Course Guide.
Edgewood High School.
Jay Matthews has more in a later article.

4 thoughts on “Studies Find Benefits to Advanced Placement Courses”

  1. I was recently informed by a friend who is a Middleton teacher that Middleton schools have open enrollment for the upcoming year.

  2. Here is some additional Madison data — received from MMSD Research and Evaluation about a year ago. It’s the number of AP tests registered for by students at our four high schools in 2005. (Note: To conserve space, I have only included selected AP tests in English, the sciences and history, as well as the total number of tests registered for. I do have information on the other AP tests, if anyone is interested.)
    I’ve put an “X” wherever an AP course is offered (in part because one of the reasons often given for having no AP courses is that “we have non-AP courses that prepare our students well for the AP exams.”
    English Language:
    East – 10
    LaF – 6
    Mem – 99 X
    West – 21
    English Literature:
    East – 2
    LaF – 34 X
    Mem – 113 X
    West – 19.
    European History:
    East – 0
    LaF – 12 X
    Mem – 14 X
    West – 7
    U.S. History:
    East – 0
    LaF – 17 X
    Mem – 3
    West – 7
    World History:
    East – 1
    LaF – 0
    Mem – 59 X
    West – 1
    East – 1
    LaF – 0
    Mem – 107 X
    West – 8
    East – 5
    LaF – 15 X
    Mem – 12 X
    West – 18
    Physics B:
    East 1
    LaF – 1
    Mem – 21 X
    West – 5
    Physics C:
    East – 2
    LaF – 11
    Mem – 18
    West – 10
    East – 118 (10 AP courses offered)
    LaF – 255 (12)
    Mem – 765 (17)
    West – 362 (9)

  3. Celeste:
    It’s not just Middleton-Cross Plains that has open enrollment this time of year; the entire state of Wisconsin does. Details of the state’s open enrollment law can be found here, including the window in which families can “apply” for enrollment in other districts.
    Perhaps relevant to some SIS debates is the language regarding open enrollment and districts like Madison receiving Chap. 220 aid. Madison, unique in Dane County, has the authority to restrict open enrollment applicants from leaving the district.

  4. Thanks for that info Phil. I was living in happy ignorance, thinking that we’re all the same, prisoners of our local school administrators’ whims. But now I discover that everyone else is free to go where they please, but I am not. Only here in a Madison, and a few other slect locations, are we stuck. Of course, it’s just an intellectual exercise, since I wouldn’t be sending my children out to some faraway location, in any case. But still, I was happier when I knew nothing. But seriously, it is good to understand how systems operate. I was completely clueless there.

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