Advanced placement course initiative proves successful, lawmakers told

Advanced placement course initiative proves successful, lawmakers told

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 19, 2013) — More Kentucky high school students than ever are earning college credit through advanced placement (AP) classes, lawmakers heard yesterday at a meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education.

ClassroomKentucky’s improvement in qualifying AP test scores is more than double the national average, Joanne Lang, executive director of Advance Kentucky, said.

Advance Kentucky, aimed at increasing students’ participation and success in advanced placement classes, is a partnership between the National Math and Science Initiative, the Kentucky Department of Education and several other public and private agencies. Since 2008, the program has worked with 88 schools in the state to support 65,000 AP class enrollments.

Lang told lawmakers the initiative isn’t just about building bigger AP programs, but specifically recruiting minority students who are traditionally underserved. The number of low-income and minority students enrolled in advanced placement courses has quadrupled in participating schools, she said.

“There are many more kids that we can push into the best and brightest category. They’re out there. We just need to tap them,” Lang said.

Glasgow High School AP math teacher Kellie Lee said the program encourages her to reach more students than she could have otherwise. “Advance Kentucky lit my candle and now I have the opportunity to light many more,” she said.

Lee told lawmakers Glasgow High School moved from the bottom half of “Kentucky achieving schools” to the top six percent while working with the program.

According to Anthony Mires, director of Educational Services for the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, the results of Advance Kentucky reach far beyond the AP classroom. “Anecdotally, we knew it made a difference. [Now we] have the data,” he said.

A recent longitudinal study of program outcomes showed Advance Kentucky students have higher ACT test scores, go to college at higher rates and earn higher college GPAs than their peers, he said.

“The impact you’re having on students and students’ lives for years and years to come is something I’m so proud of for all of us,” Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, said.