Education Trust offers suggestions to boost AP exam participation, performance
- Though the percentages of students of color taking advanced placement exams has risen throughout the country, there remain gaps in the success rate for these students compared to their peers. A new report by The Education Trust seeks to find ways educators can support these students to achieve better success on the exams.
- The report examined two diverse high schools showing progress in raising the percentage of students of color taking and performing well on AP exams. The report finds that schools should ensure their teaching staff is properly trained and supported and try to ensure that they have vertical curricula, with lessons in one grade properly preparing students for the grades to come.
- The report also suggested that educators and schools regularly assess data of student performance in the classroom to try and find strengths and weaknesses in instruction and performance quickly, and to also be open to unconventional approaches to assisting students, including inviting tutors from higher ed institutions.
The report's suggestion that schools and school leaders prize a strong vertical curricula underscores the need for earlier childhood education to be properly supported to reduce the possibility of learning gaps and the need for remedial education later in a student's educational career. In a survey released this past May, educators reported that they often see wildly varying grade level performance in a single classroom, and it can have a detrimental effect on an individual student's progress and the class progress as a whole. AP exam participation must be viewed in the same manner; just getting students into the seat to take the test is not beneficial if they have not had adequate preparation, and it could actually have a detrimental effect on college prospects, academic performance, and their self-esteem.
Evidence indicates that robust investments in early childhood education can benefit later on in professional careers, for both the student and for taxpayers that fund ECE programs. School and district leaders should also try to maintain a long-term strategy for students who will eventually take AP courses. By investing early on in tutoring, more options and opportunities for extracurricular enrichment and other initatives to assist students, schools can avoid a situation where extensive remedial education would be necessary to prepare a student for an AP exam, or worse, that the student takes the exam without having been properly prepared over the course of his schooling.
- The Education Trust Systems for Success: Thinking Beyond Access to AP