September 25, 2012

DCPS Students Soar on Advanced Placement Exams 

Participation and Scores Both Increase

Contact: Melissa Salmanowitz | 202-535-1096

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Students in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) made tremendous progress both in participation and performance on Advanced Placement (AP) exams, according to a new report released today The College Board.

“By increasing both the number of students taking and passing rigorous AP tests, we are showing that our students are ready to rise to any challenge. I am proud of our students every single day, and today, I am elated that DCPS has made such notable progress with Advanced Placement courses and exams,” said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson. “In our strategic five-year plan, we made it a goal to double the number of advanced students at DCPS. With the news in this report, it is clear we are on track toward success. I fundamentally believe our students have the grit and determination to make this district one of the best performing in the country. We are well on our way to proving that is possible.”

From 2010–2011 to 2011–2012, the number of students taking AP exams increased by nearly 15 percent, from 1,998 to 2,291 test-takers, compared to a 6.4 percent increase nationwide. Over the past five years, the number of DCPS AP test-takers has increased by over 25 percent.   

Since the 2007–2008 school year, the number of DCPS students passing at least one exam has increased by 85 percent.  The performance of African-American and Hispanic students on the exams has improved even more than the district average over five years, by 86 percent and 184 percent, respectively.  The total number of AP exams receiving passing scores has also increased by nearly 64 percent since the 2007–2008 school year.

Chancellor Henderson attributes these impressive improvements to two efforts, including a policy initiated in the 2010-2011 school year that recognized the disparity in AP course offerings in high schools in the district.

“Beginning with the 2010-2011 school year, we required all of our high schools to offer at least four AP courses (including at least one in English, math, science and social studies), which has led to a 36 percent increase in the number of AP courses offered. The year before we made this change in policy, we offered 106 courses.  This year, we are currently scheduled to offer 144.  This has increased equity across DCPS, so all of our students have access to these rigorous, college-level courses.

“Second, our school staff—school leaders, counselors and of course, teachers—are working hard to improve both participation and performance.  We are recruiting students to take these advanced courses. We’ve also worked to challenge traditionally under-represented students to take on AP-level rigor. Our AP teachers receive College Board-facilitated professional development.  These dedicated educators are raising the bar every day for our students and supporting them so they can meet these very high expectations.”

The College Board is expected to release their annual report, AP Report to the Nation, with more comprehensive data about Advanced Placement, in early 2013.

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