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ERIC Number: ED505556
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul
Pages: 30
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Access to Success:Patterns of Advanced Placement Participation in U.S. High Schools. Policy Information Report
Handwerk, Philip; Tognatta, Namrata; Coley, Richard J.; Gitomer, Drew H.
Educational Testing Service
Providing high school students access to advanced coursework has long been considered an important means of preparing students for success after high school. This study merges data from College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) program for the 2003-2004 school year with data from the U.S. Department of Education for all U.S. public high schools to determine availability of the AP program in the nation's high schools, participation patterns in AP, and AP grade information for public schools with different socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and geographic characteristics. Study findings include: (1) School types vary in the degree to which they offer AP; (2) Once differences among schools in AP program intensity are taken into account, public high schools are similar with regard to AP exam participation and student performance; (3) Few students are participating in AP programs and scoring well enough on AP exams to potentially earn college credit and/or placement; (4) Low-income students are consistently lagging behind more-advantaged peers; (5) Although there has been some success in introducing the AP program into diverse schools, there continues to be a lack of underrepresented minorities among AP examinees; and (6) Gender differences are evident for each of the measures used in this study. Six recommendations for further research suggest focus on: (1) Identifying and providing the educational experiences that students need in order to be prepared for advanced coursework; (2) Policies for student placement into academic tracks or programs; (3) Ways to encourage students to prepare for and participate in advanced academic programs, particularly underrepresented students; (4) Identifying the issues keeping low-income students from AP participation even when opportunities and fee-reduction opportunities are present; (5) Providing the resources necessary to ensure that AP courses are available for all students who wish to take them; and (6) Identifying teacher quality issues and staff development needs to ensure that students have access to appropriate instruction. The report concludes that unless the opportunity for advanced coursework is made available to growing segments of underserved student populations, many students will be unable to avail themselves of opportunities for higher education and for successful participation in the workforce. Two appendixes are included: (1) Cluster Analysis Methodology; and (2) School Type Codes and Definitions. (Contains 9 tables, 13 figures, and 29 footnotes.)
Educational Testing Service. Rosedale Road Mailstop 19R, Princeton, NJ 08541-0001. Tel: 609-921-9000; Fax: 609-734-5410; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Educational Testing Service, Policy Information Center
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Advanced Placement Examinations (CEEB)