Success is rarely the result of just one element; it’s a collaborative effort at many levels, from many constituents. To address the opportunity gap (discussed in A Right to Rigor) at its root, we need to ensure that more AP courses — and the training needed for teachers to lead them — are available, particularly in traditionally underserved schools. Initiatives aimed at starting and expanding AP programs are crucial to this effort.
States, districts, and schools are leading this critical work, and the College Board is supporting however it can. States like California, Florida, and West Virginia are funding the teacher training and materials needed to expand AP programs in some of their most underserved schools.* Districts such as Copiague Public Schools in New York are demonstrating sustainable success in improving equity and success in AP classrooms. More than 800 AP teachers received scholarships to attend AP Summer Institutes last year, and the College Board plans to expand this funding next year.
The AP collaborative community also extends to organizations interested in promoting equity and success in AP classrooms. Here we’re spotlighting three such partnerships:
- AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) is a college readiness program focused on providing low-income and underserved minority students with the support they may need to succeed in rigorous course work. Over the last six years, the proportion of AVID seniors taking at least one AP course has increased steadily, from 68.6 percent in 2007 to 72 percent in 2012.
- The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) has implemented a training and incentive program in nine states to increase teacher effectiveness and student achievement in AP math and science courses. Between 2011 and 2012, schools participating in the program for the first time saw the number of successful AP Exam scores in math, science, and English at their schools nearly double.
- Made possible by a $5 million grant from Google to DonorsChoose.org, the AP STEM Access program is an initiative to increase the number of traditionally underrepresented minority and female high school students who participate in AP courses in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
* The California Advanced Placement Expansion (CAPE) program provides funding for materials and teacher training for AP courses to approximately 200 California public schools that currently offer few or no AP courses, yet have many students with strong potential to succeed.
The College Board Florida Partnership for Minority and Underrepresented Student Achievement has funded AP professional development for the past eleven years in schools and districts throughout Florida.
The West Virginia Center for Professional Development (WVCPD) pays for AP professional development for its AP teachers, principals and AP Coordinators to expand equity and access to AP in the state.