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The Changing Role Of Advanced Placement Classes

If annual growth rates hold true, during the next two weeks, more than two million high school students across the country are expected to take AP exams. A passing score could mean earning college credit while still in high school. Research shows that students who take rigorous courses in high school are more likely to get into, and succeed, in college.

For a lot of students though, especially low-income and minority students, AP courses haven’t always been an option. North County High School principal Julie Cares says five years ago, only 10 percent of the Maryland school’s 2,000 students took any Advanced Placement classes. Less than one-fourth of seniors planned to attend a four-year college.

To build a college-going culture, the school added more AP courses, eliminated all of the requirements to get in and pushed every student to take at least one. In five years, the number of AP students has tripled, from about 200 to 600.