Student Participation and Performance in Advanced Placement Rise in Tandem

The class of 2018 AP Program shows AP participation and performance continue to grow in tandem.

The class of 2018 AP Program shows AP participation and performance continue to grow in tandem. According to the AP Program Results: Class of 2018 report released by College Board earlier this week, more than 1.24 million students—nearly 40% of the class of 2018—took 4.22 million AP Exams in public high schools nationwide (up from 25% in 2008). Over the last 10 years, the number of U.S. public high school graduates who’ve taken an AP Exam had risen 65%, while the number who have scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam has increased by 63%.

College Board remains committed to creating a path for all students to own their future. The percentage of low-income students participating in AP has nearly doubled in the past 10 years—30.8% of AP Exam takers from the class of 2018 were low-income students, compared to just 16.5% in the class of 2008.

“The remarkable growth brings new responsibilities for the College Board. Even as we celebrate the success of AP, we are alert to the inequities that can undermine student success,” said David Coleman, CEO of the College Board. “We see thousands of students who count themselves out when it’s time to take the exam. That’s why we are making the largest investment in Advanced Placement to date by creating new, free resources that will reach students and teachers wherever they are.”

Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, the AP Program will provide AP teachers and coordinators with free, flexible tools to plan classes, create assignments, and provide personalized feedback to students over the course of the year. Teachers will have access to an AP question bank to create customized practice tests, unit guides that describe the skills and topics covered in each exam, and detailed dashboards that provide students, parents, and educators with information on a student’s progress.

Another change with a surprisingly significant positive impact for students: a transition to fall registration. This is not a change for all schools as more than half of schools offering AP courses have already adopted a fall registration deadline.

“We learned from schools that when students register in the fall, they are more engaged and persistent when they encounter topics that are initially difficult for them,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president of the AP Program. “More than half of all AP schools already have a fall registration policy, so we’re moving to make that universal.”

An AP teacher from participating pilot school Edmond Santa Fe High School shared the positive results her students experienced as a result of the pilot.

“By using the student resources like the question bank, I have given my students exposure to the types of questions and writing prompts they will see on the AP test at the end of the year. This has given my students confidence as they know what to expect. They are also able to monitor their own academic progress as the year goes on through their pilot platform, said Meg Shadid, AP World History and AP Economics Teacher at Edmond Santa Fe High School.

“Fall registration has been a great way to build a culture in AP where everyone was on board and we used the year to prepare, it was more of an all hands on deck type of mentality. There was an expectation, a common goal,” she continued.

Additional findings include continued growth in AP Computer Science Principles, particularly among underrepresented students, the expansion of AP Capstone and the more than double increase in the number of states with an AP credit policy, and more. To read the full report click here.