AdvanceKentucky Outperforms State and Nation for Fifth Consecutive Year

Lexington, KY – Students enrolled in high schools that partner with AdvanceKentucky earned significantly higher scores on Advanced Placement (AP)[1] exams compared to the national average for the fifth consecutive year, new College Board data reveals.  AdvanceKentucky is an initiative of Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation the state's affiliate of the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) whose mission is to replicate a proven model[2] of open enrollment in AP math, science and English programs.  The distinguishing focus is on strategies to dramatically expand preparation for, access to, and success in AP Math, Science, English (MSE)[3], with a particular focus on serving minority and low income student populations traditionally underrepresented in AP. With the release of 2013 AP results AdvanceKentucky has undertaken a five-year program performance[4] review.

Summary.  By implementing the NMSI Elements of Success for open enrollment in AP, AdvanceKentucky schools consistently made transformative first-year improvements, combined with sustained growth year-to-year by every Cohort.  Five years later with a critical mass of over 40 percent of public high schools involved in AdvanceKentucky, Kentucky's statewide AP performance is among the top in the nation—and often double national averages on various metrics. Of particular note are the significant gains made among minority and low income students.  Moreover, the first cohorts able to be followed after high school are outperforming their peers in college.  See link above for five-year summary charts on these and other measures of progress.

Statewide Expansion. Since inception, AdvanceKentucky has served 88 public high schools in 64 districts, over 600 AP MSE teachers, 2,500 Pre-AP MSE teachers and 65,000 AP MSE enrollments (including current year 13-14 students).  Each year a new cohort of 12 to 20 schools has been added to the program. A typical school produced a baseline of 23 AP Qualifying Scores (QS) prior to intervention and on average increased to 118 for a 413 percent increase over five years.


First-Year Performance.  In its first year every cohort performed eight to 18 times higher than the nation did in the respective year.

Five-Year Performance.  These transformative first-year increases, combined with sustained growth year-to-year among AdvanceKentucky cohorts contributed to Kentucky's total AP performance in all subjects increasing by 100 percent and by 137 percent among minority students over five years —ranking at or among the highest increases in the nation. 

Three-Year Impacts. Schools sign up initially for three years.  This follows the general pattern of orientation to the full scale open enrollment model and teacher training in the first year, gaining traction with more training in the second year, and sustaining open enrollment practices and protocols by year three.  Among the cohorts that have completed three years, the average impact on numbers of AP MSE QS moved from a baseline of 393 to 1,295 by Year 3 for a 229 percent increase.

AP MSE Qualifying scores quintupled among both Minority students from 9 to 46 and low income students from 42 increased to 220. These increases are reflective of the overall school demographics of these cohorts.  Enrollment profiles of later cohorts include larger numbers of minority and low income students.

Sponsors. AdvanceKentucky's impact could not have been possible without the investments by our sponsors.  The first five years have been supported with a $13M grant from the National Math and Science Initiative that has been matched with $13M from the Kentucky Department of Education (including federal grants from the US Department of Education), contributions from participating schools, Berea College, three grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission, James Graham Brown Foundation, Exxon Mobil, Lockheed, Council on Postsecondary Education, Kentucky Downs and Kentucky Science and echnology Corporation. 

Sustaining Gains.  The AdvanceKentucky Partner Program[5]  was created in 2013 for participating schools that have 'graduated' from their original AdvanceKentucky agreement.  The Partner Program offers them ongoing access to student content sessions and teacher training resources in MSE content areas.

Stretch Goals.  Even as schools have made transformative improvements, data analyses reveal the need for continued focus on sustained efforts. Successfully enrolling many more underrepresented students in AP MSE courses and earning many more QS have been critical steps in reaching all student populations with rigorous AP courses. Our stretch goal is to sustain minority, low income and female student populations' QS earned at least at the same proportion as they enroll and take the respective AP exams.  We see gains on this front in 2013 but will continue to use data-driven reviews to gauge deeper understanding of performance and exam taking patterns among underrepresented student populations.

Continuous Improvements.  In the first five years, AdvanceKentucky has customized elements to meet Kentucky needs by instituting: new school and teacher performance goals each year; an Online Data Reporting System; deliverables by school-based Content Coordinators; a Student Study Session Framework to enhance student participation options; the annual content-intensive Fall Forum for AP math, science and English teachers; and content teacher training for elementary teachers to complement the middle school and high school training introduced for Pre-AP teachers statewide.

Longitudinal Research. An agreement with the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics has been negotiated for annual longitudinal research on AdvanceKentucky students beyond high school.  The first review was completed in September 2013 with early results showing that AdvanceKentucky students vs. a comparison group graduate from high school at higher rates, with higher GPAs and perform better on Plan and ACT tests. The college going rate is higher and AdvanceKentucky students take far fewer remedial courses in college. They earn higher GPAs as freshmen and return as college sophomores at higher rates.


About Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation
AdvanceKentucky is an initiative of the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation, which is a non-profit founded in 1987 to advance innovations in science and technology.  Our education program is designed to expand access to, participation in and dramatically increase student academic achievements that are essential for contributing to innovations driving today's economy.  KSTC partners with Kentucky Department of Education, Council on Postsecondary Education and the Cabinet for Economic Development and other private, federal and foundation stakeholders to make investments in transformative innovations.  For more information visit and

About National Math and Science Initiative
NMSI, a non-profit organization, was launched in 2007 by top leaders in business, education, and science to transform education in the United States. NMSI has received national recognition for training K-12 teachers and improving student performance through the rapid expansion of these highly successful programs: NMSI's Comprehensive AP program, including AdvanceKentucky, NMSI Teacher Training program, which partners with AdvanceKentucky and UT Austin's UTeach program, including SkyTeach at Western Kentucky University.   Inaugural funding for NMSI, was provided by the Exxon Mobil Corporation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. For more information, visit


[1] Advanced Placement Program, AP, and Pre-AP are registered trademarks of the College Board.

[2] A cohesive set of student supports and teacher training comprise the NMSI Elements of Success.

[3] AP courses in calculus, statistics, computer science, biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, English language and English Literature.

[4] Performance is measured as numbers of AP qualifying scores of 3, 4 and 5 on a 5-point scale earned by students taking national AP math, science and English exams.

[5] The Partner Program offers access at in-program rates to the Fall Forum for AP Teachers, Student Study Sessions, and Pre-AP teacher training for middle school and high
school teachers.  AP Summer Institutes remain available through Western Kentucky University, Morehead State University and University of Louisville.

200 W. Vine St. Suite 420
Lexington, KY 40507