The U.S. Department of Education will continue funding Advanced Placement tests for Kentucky’s low-income students this school year, but public schools in Jefferson County with the highest passing AP rates also have the lowest number of low-income students.
“In 2010-2011 which is the latest data I have, in Kentucky public schools there were approximately 38,000 AP exams taken,” said Lisa Gross, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Education.
In Kentucky, around 45 percent of those exams–17,404 of 37,977–resulted in a passing grade, earning students college credit. In JCPS, that rate was 51 percent for the same period out of 7,167 tests, according to JCPS data.
JCPS data shows most students earning a passing grade come from four schools: Male, DuPont Manuel, Eastern and Ballard high schools, but those schools also have the lowest number of students receiving free and reduced lunch.
Those four schools made up 5,176 of the 7,167 AP tests taken during the 2010-2011 school year, with a combined passing rate of 56.7 percent. The combined rate of students on free and reduced lunches is 24.15 percent, while the district's high school rate is 52.9 percent.
All four schools also have above average student bodies, which likely adds to the number of tests taken.
Students who sign up for free and reduced meals are how the state determines its low-income student body. The federal government will give nearly $400,000 to Kentucky to help fund AP testing for these students, which at its $38 per exam rate is good for nearly 10,000 tests. The estimate also assumes low-income students can take up to three exams.
Gross said the $87 AP exam cost is also subsidized by the College Board, which helps administers the test.