From 2008 to 2013, students enrolled in high schools that partner with AdvanceKentucky earned significantly higher scores on Advanced Placement (AP)[i] exams compared to the national average for five consecutive years, and do better in college than their peers. PDF VersionSince inception, AdvanceKentucky has served 65,000 AP MSE enrollments and 600+ AP MSE teachers among 88 public high schools from 67 districts, and 2,500 Pre-AP MSE teachers from these and another 10 districts. Each year a new cohort of 12 to 20 schools joined the program, reaching a critical mass of over 45 percent of school districts.
A typical school started with a baseline of 23 AP MSE Qualifying Scores (QS) prior to intervention and on average increased to 118 QS for a 413 percent gain over five years of implementing NMSI Elements of Success for open enrollment in AP.Every cohort made transformative first-year improvements eight to 18 times higher than the nation. These transformative 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 among the highest increases in the nation. Among the cohorts that have completed three years, the average number 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.Inaugural research following students from early cohorts after high school has revealed tremendous benefit for students enrolled in AP courses, compared to a peer group. Preliminary results indicate that the combined components of the program significantly decreases the need for college remediation and increases the likelihood students are able to persist beyond the first semester of college. Further, students from AdvanceKentucky classrooms maintain higher GPAs in college and are able to manage greater course loads. Students better prepared for college when teachers have supports they need for success in rigorous classrooms. For more data see 2013 Performance by the Numbers.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 Technology Corporation.Continuing Efforts Schools sign up initially for three years. From this has emerged the pattern of orientation to the full scale open enrollment model and teacher training in the first year, gaining traction with more training and students attending study sessions in the second year, and embedding open enrollment practices and protocols by year three. The program adopts AP coursework as an indicator of sufficient rigor to ensure college success after high school. Advanced Placement coursework provides the academic content and classroom experience necessary to promote college readiness.Partner Program To help continue the efforts of schools who have completed the initial growth cycle and to help achieve the stretch goals AdvanceKentucky has created the AdvanceKentucky Partner Program[v]. Launched in 2013, the Partner Program offers graduating schools ongoing access to student content sessions and teacher training resources in MSE content areas. NMSI Teacher Training Program To reach students who have not traditionally had access to AP coursework AdvanceKentucky provides support through student recruitment, incentives for student participation and success, and classroom support through professional development, mentoring, and student study sessions. For students to be prepared for the level of rigor in AP classrooms professional development also is provided to support pre-AP teachers. In partnership with the National Math and Science Initiative, The NMSI Teacher Training Program conducted by AdvanceKentucky provides support for grades 6-10 preparing students for AP courses and serves to support the AP classroom efforts toward college readiness. To date 2,500 teachers have participated in this training while 40 Kentucky teachers have become nationally endorsed trainers. This training receives excellent evaluations from teachers and is in very high demand receiving tremendous local support.Even as schools have made transformative improvements, data analyses reveal that successfully enrolling many more underrepresented students in AP MSE courses and earning more QS are critical first steps in reaching all student populations with rigorous AP courses. Our stretch goals include accelerating 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. 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.
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