AP Report to the Nation

College Board [1.5MB PDF]:

More than 15 percent of the public high school class of 2007 achieved at least one AP® Exam grade of 3 or higher1—the score that is predictive of college success. This achievement represents a significant and consistent improvement since the class of 2002 when less than 12 percent of public school graduates attained this goal.
Out of all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, Vermont captured the largest increase in the percentage of high school graduates who scored a 3 or higher on an AP Exam.
In its fourth annual “AP Report to the Nation,” the College Board (the not-for-profit membership association that owns and administers the AP Program), focuses on educators’ quantifiable successes in helping a wider segment of the nation’s students gain access to and achieve success in college-level work. Of the estimated 2.8 million students who graduated from U.S. public schools in 2007, almost 426,000 (15.2 percent) earned an AP Exam grade of at least a 3 on one or more AP Exams during their high school tenure, the report documents. This is up from 14.7 percent in 2006 and 11.7 percent in 2002.
Earning a 3 or higher on an AP Exam is one of “the very best predictors of college performance,”2 with AP students earning higher college grades and graduating from college at higher rates than otherwise similar peers in control groups, according to recent reports from researchers at the University of California at Berkeley,3 the National Center for Educational Accountability,4 and the University of Texas at Austin.5,6
New York, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Massachusetts and Connecticut all saw more than 20 percent of their students graduate from high school having earned an AP Exam grade of 3 or higher. AP achievements for each state’s class of 2002, class of 2006 and class of 2007 are detailed in the report. (See “The 4th Annual AP Report to the Nation,” Table 1, page 5.)
“Educators and policymakers across the nation should be commended for their sustained commitment to helping students achieve access to and success in AP courses and exams” said College Board President Gaston Caperton. “More students from varied backgrounds are accomplishing their AP goals, but we can’t afford to believe equity has been achieved until the demographics of successful AP participation and performance are identical to the demographics of the overall student population.”
Though 75 percent of U.S. high school graduates enter college,7 dropout rates and the fact that about half of all college freshmen are taking at least one remedial course indicate that secondary schools must dedicate themselves to more than college admission,8 the report asserts.
“Remedial course work in college costs taxpayers an estimated $1 billion a year,”9 Caperton said. “To shrink the gap between those who enter college and those who complete a degree, we must target the divide between high school graduation standards and the skills that all students need to be prepared for the rigors of college. The critical reasoning, subject-matter expertise and study skills students must develop to succeed on the three-hour college-level AP Exams fortify high school graduates for a successful transition into their freshman year at college. This makes providing better readiness for—and access to—AP courses absolutely essential.”

Related: Dane County, WI High School AP Course Comparison. The Madison School District received a grant in 2005 to increase the number of AP classes available to students. Madison High School AP offerings, according to the College Board: East 11, Edgewood 11, LaFollette 10, Memorial 17 and West 5.
Mitchell Landsberg digs into the report here.

One thought on “AP Report to the Nation”

  1. I presume the discussion on MUAE e-list that has been happening about the numbers of courses offered at the high schools here in Madison, has been included over here too? Our high schools (several) are losing a couple of them as labeled “AP courses” because – while they are advanced courses that may ‘help’ prepare for the tests – they do not follow AP’s requirements exactly, and do not meet the standards they have. Memorial seems to have more while West has fewer, because Memorial teachers apparently are more willing to teach exactly what the AP board says they have to, while West teachers strike out on more specifically focused sub-topics on AP exams in different subjects. That’s the essential message I have been getting out of the MUAE discussion anyway.
    It seems to me – way back when I was taking AP courses in high school – that you couldn’t sit for the exams if you hadn’t taken the actual AP class. That’s why it was so amazing to have even 3-4 AP exams (with a 3 or higher) behind you by the time you finished high school, 20+ years ago. Now, it seems there are many more subjects with exams than there used to be. I took AP US History and AP Chemistry my junior year, and was out of the country my senior year. That used to be amazing. Is it common now to take AP courses junior or even sophomore year? How do you do several year-long (?) AP courses in all different subjects at the same time? They were an outrageous amount of work when I was in high school, and only the hardest working, most motivated students took them when I was in school. That was nice in some ways because it kept the coursework at a higher level throughout the year, and discussions more interesting. Are the subject topics not as wide-ranging anymore across the same course? Are they partial year courses? Our kids are in 7th, 6th and 3rd grades right now, so I am just starting to wonder about this in more detail again.

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