The College Board’s AP program is a benchmark for academic rigor and offers high school students the opportunity to earn college credit. The Los Angeles-based Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation recently released its report, “The Road to Equity: Expanding AP Access and Success for African-American Students.”
It details how the six school systems, including Cobb County Schools, are increasing the college readiness of black students by improving their AP passing rates quickly enough to gain on their white peers while increasing or keeping participation rates steady.
“It’s not enough to just increase our African-American students’ participation. We must also continue providing access and support to make sure our students are successful,” Superintendent Robert Avossa said in a statement. “This report [from the Broad Foundation] is eye-opening in how well our schools are doing, but to reach our strategic goal of increased college preparedness, we have to do more to engage all of our minority student populations.”
The other districts are in Texas, Kentucky, Florida and California.
Research revealed the districts raised AP test performance without losing ground on participation by:
Offering a rigorous curriculum, beginning in elementary grades
Expanding access to gifted programs
Looking at test results on precursors like the PSAT to identify and encourage potential AP students
Giving extra academic and social support to students
Greatly increasing the number of AP course offerings
Giving teachers more training and professional development
Instilling confidence in students about their college-going potential
Informing potential AP students’ parents about the benefits of AP.
“AP is an important predictor of college success when teachers and students use AP’s standards as an inspiration, developing through practice the most important academic skills needed in college,” Trevor Packer, College Board senior vice president for AP and instruction, said in a statement. “Data identify thousands of minority and low-income students who have the academic potential to succeed in Advanced Placement courses, but lack access or encouragement to pursue such opportunities. We celebrate the AP teachers and students of these six urban districts for their extraordinary accomplishments. Their successes show that with the right support systems and best practices, broader access to AP can provide a diversity of students with a stronger foundation for college and career success.”