AP For All

Traditional schools struggle with: Which kids should be allowed to take advanced courses? Some charters, like ours, struggle with: which kids, if any, should be exempt from taking advanced courses as juniors and seniors in high school?

They're too two sides of the same coin.

A new study sheds some light:

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate courses: Taking an AP/IB course had a dramatic effect on students’ chance of persisting even when students fail the end-of-course test.

Low achieving and low SES students who took an AP/IB course were 17 percent more likely to persist in four-year colleges and 30 percent more likely to persist in two-year institutions.

The more of these courses a student took, the higher their persistence rates were.

...AP/IB courses should not just be for the students with the highest academic achievement; this report shows that even students at the low end of academic achievement in their sophomore year benefit from AP courses, and show higher gains than the high academic achieving students.

The same is true for math courses. Taking a more challenging math course improved persistence more for students with lower prior academic achievement.

North Star in New Jersey is one school that recently had some breakthroughs in AP performance; 90% pass rates, and many of their kids arrived with quite low academic levels.

Meanwhile, for an oldie-but-goodie, here's a smart critic of expanded AP courses in high-poverty schools.