AP as an Educational Option

AP as an Educational Option
The Advanced Placement (AP) program began in the 1955-56 academic year as an opportunity for high school seniors to take college freshman level courses with the potential to earn college credit while still in high school. In that first year 1,229 students participated in the program. More than fifty years later, participation has increased to 2,809,202 students (College Board, 2008). There are 37 courses offered in 22 subject areas including AP Chinese Language and Culture and AP Japanese Language and Culture recently added in 2007.

In order to earn credit, students must take an AP exam and score a 3 (on a 5-point scale) or higher. Over 3,600 colleges and universities around the world recognize AP examination results for college credit, course placement decisions (e.g., French II instead of French I), and/or admissions decisions. More than 90% of colleges and universities in the United States grant AP credit.

High schools that include AP courses as a component of their curriculum, on average offer 9 courses (College Board, 2008). The top 10 AP exams administered in 2007 were: (1) AP US History; (2) AP English Literature and Composition; (3) AP English Language and Composition; (4) AP Calculus AB; (5) AP US Government and Politics; (6) AP Biology; (7) AP Psychology; (8) AP Statistics; (9) AP Spanish Language; and (10) AP Chemistry. AP French Literature was least popular in 2007 with the fewest number of students sitting for the exam. Not all high schools offer AP courses, however. But, students have the option of taking an AP exam even if they have not taken an AP course. So, for students enrolled in schools not offering AP courses or in homeschooling situations do have access to this opportunity.

Students with documented disabilities may be eligible for special accommodations during AP exams. Possible accommodations include: extended time, Braille, large-print format, large block answer sheets; permission to use specific technologies (e.g., Braille writer, computer, or magnification); a reader to dictate questions; a write to record answers; a written copy of oral instructions, etc. The documentation approval process for accommodations requires that an Eligibility Form be completed by your student’s school counselor or Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) coordinator in advance of the usual test registration deadline. If your student is homeschooled, contact the College Board’s SSD office directly to initiate the process.

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