KDE Press Release of Longitudinal Impact of AP and AdvanceKY No. 13-120 12/16/13

2013 Research

For five years AdvanceKentucky has seen consistent transformative growth when schools establish rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) classrooms with clear, high expectations and at the same time focus on recruiting students from diverse backgrounds into those classrooms. These efforts have come about through the successful implementation of the National Math and Science Initiative’s AP Teacher Incentive Program and the continued focus on the Elements of Success.

Now, according to the 2013 longitudinal study conducted by the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS) we know the positive impact this type of school culture has beyond high school. This new evidence shows students in AdvanceKentucky’s AP programs are better prepared for college, need little or no remediation and perform better in their postsecondary studies when compared to their peers
. The information affirms national evidence that shows a significant and positive long-term effect for students who take AP classes in high school.

Improved ACT Performance.
Students who enroll in AP courses show greater gains from PLAN to ACT.
In 2011 the average high school graduate scored 16.9 on the statewide PLAN assessment while in the tenth grade. When tested on the state-administered ACT assessment the same cohort of students scored an average of 18.3 indicating an average increase of 1.4.   Between 2009 and 2011 we have observed AdvanceKentucky students having participated in at least one AP class saw an average increase of 3.1 from the same set of PLAN scores to ACT.

Significantly Less Remediation.Remediation
Students who enroll in AP see a significant reduction in the need for remediation prior to college coursework. In the fall of 2012, the percent of Kentucky college students needing at least one remediation class was 32.3%. Participating AP students from AdvanceKentucky RemediationURGschools were able to reduce that average to 10.6%. The economic impact of AP coursework becomes threefold. By taking AP courses students have the chance to earn college credit while still in high school, they are better equipped to maintain higher college GPAs to retain KEES scholarships, and their need to spend tuition on remedial coursework is significantly decreased. Low income, African American and Hispanic students participating in AP classes at Advance Kentucky schools experienced the same pattern of higher performance and far fewer remedial needs in college.

Improved College Performance.
Students who enroll in AP earn higher GPAs during their first fall semester of College. The comparison cohort of 2011 graduates showed an average first semester college GPA of 2.37. In comparison, the average AdvanceKentucky student with AP participation earned an average first semester college GPA of 2.77. This is especially important in the context of the AdvanceKentucky program’s mission of reaching underrepresented populations of students and the retention of KEES dollars. 2.5 is the minimum GPA needed for students to maintain their scholarship funding.
The combined data is indicative of a positive impact on school culture, academic performance, and post-secondary preparation when students are expected to perform at a higher level. Advanced Placement coursework infuses a college-level culture of rigor into high schools and provides a constructive environment whereby students can not only gain access to the content knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary for college access but are also being exposed to environments that help sustain and increase their performance through the first year of college which has been demonstrated to be so critical to college graduation.


AP Participation is defined as having taken at least one AP class but not necessarily participating on the AP end-of-course assessment. Even stronger correlations exist when students take the exams and show increasing degrees of success.

The study includes AdvanceKentucky students from 2008-09 to 2010-11.  The comparison group is comprised of senior 2010-2011 graduates, excluding any participating in Advance Kentucky.

AdvanceKentucky is an initiative of Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Education and the National Math and Science Initiative.

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