Students who benefit from the state’s Advanced Placement initiative—called Advance Kentucky—have larger test score gains, take fewer remedial courses in college and earn better GPAs during the first semester.
That’s the takeaway from data released by the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics this week.
Advance Kentucky began five years ago as a way to get more minority students to take and pass AP exams. As WFPL reported this year, it has helped the state succeed in that goal.
Students who receive a high enough score on an AP exam could receive credit at many colleges and universities.
“The second goal is what’s happening to these students in college. Are we making a demonstrable difference in their preparation in college and their success in college? We believe this longitudinal research documents that pretty clearly,” says Joanne Lang, executive director of Advance Kentucky.
High schools that voluntarily enter into what’s become a three-year program receive professional training for teachers and resources to help expand AP opportunities.
While the program has been accredited for its success at reaching more minority students and helping all participating students take and pass more AP exams there hasn’t been data—until now—showing results at the college level for Kentucky students.
Here are the three areas that were highlighted in the data release:
- Higher gains from PLAN (10th grade test) to ACT test (11th grade): Advance Kentucky students received an average point increase of 3.1 between 2009 and 2011. All other students saw a 1.4 point increase.
- Advance Kentucky students need less remedial course work once in college: 11 percent versus 32 percent for all other students.
- GPAs are higher: Advance Kentucky students received an average 2.77 GPA during their first semester in college (data reflects only in-state students). The average for all other students is 2.37.
Lang says successful results from Advance Kentucky reach all students equally.
“It holds true for African Americans, it holds true for Hispanics and it holds true for low-income students,” she says.
The Advance Kentucky program is in 88 schools. Lang says she would like to see the initiative expand to more schools but funding has been an issue. The program has used up a five-year grant and now relies on other methods of funding, but several schools are on a waiting list to participate.
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