State policies are one reason for this 10-year trend, David Wakelyn, executive director of policy development for The College Board, said as part of a presentation to the Midwestern Legislative Conference Education Committee. (The College Board, a nonprofit, membership association of educational institutions, administers the AP program.)
In Indiana, for example, every school in the state is now required to offer at least two AP courses.
Florida builds AP courses into its K-12 education funding formula and offers bonuses to teachers for each student who gets a passing score on the end-of-course exam.
In Arkansas, teachers are provided two weeks of summer training on AP instruction at one of four universities in the state.
told state legislators that many qualified students still are not being exposed to the rigor of an AP course, which can help young people prepare for college.
"We have lots of students with untapped AP potential and lots of others who are not college-ready - only 43 percent of the [nation's] Class of 2013 met all college-readiness benchmarks [as measured by SAT scores]," he
That "untapped potential" is determined by comparing a student's SAT score with his
participation in an AP course.
In most states, including those in the Midwest, only about half of the students with SAT scores that show an ability to succeed in an AP course participate in one.
That is a missed opportunity, Wakelyn
said, to challenge students, prepare them for college and, in some cases, allow them to earn postsecondary credits. (Studies show that students who successfully complete an AP course are more likely to graduate from college, and to graduate on time, compared to their peers.)