More Washington students are taking and passing Advanced Placement exams, according to a national report released today.
The College Board’s ninth annual “AP Report to the Nation” shows that 20,581 Washington students (or 32.8 percent) in the class of 2012 took at least one AP exam. That number represents an increase of 1,276 (6.6 percent) from 2011 and 12,068 (62.5 percent) from 2002.
Not only did participation increase again this year, so did scores. In 2012, 20.0 percent of Washington’s 12th graders scored a three or greater – a score that generally qualifies for college credit – on an AP test. In 2011, 18.4 percent of students scored a three or greater; in 2002, 9.6 percent.
The 10.4 percentage-point increase in the past 10 years ranks Washington eighth among all states. The national average for the same period was 7.9 percent.
“We’re seeing great results all over the state,” said Randy Dorn, state superintendent. “More students are taking AP tests, and more are passing them. And that’s helping them be prepared for college and career.”
Compared to 2011 results, the number of test takers and college-ready scores increased for all subgroups:
- American Indian/Alaska native (participation +5.3 percent, college-ready scores +26.0 percent)
- Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander (participation +7.1 percent, college-ready scores +9.5 percent)
- Black/African American (participation +8.5 percent, college-ready scores +6.9 percent)
- Hispanic/Latino (participation +8.3 percent, college-ready scores +14.5 percent)
- White (participation +6.2 percent, college-ready scores +7.0 percent)
For more information and to view the “AP Report to the Nation,” including state-by-state results, please visit www.collegeboard.com/apreport.
End of press release.
Against this backdrop, we learn, from a KUOW report, that legislation has been introduced in both the Washington State Senate and House that would require all high school students who meet basic proficiency on the state exam be automatically enrolled in AP or other advanced classes in every district.
Now Washington state lawmakers are considering legislation based on a policy in the Federal Way school district that puts all kids who meet basic standards into AP and other advanced classes. The goal is to make more low-income kids of color ready for college.
"This is about sorting. This about elitism. This is about institutional racism. Whether intended or not, that’s what happens" when schools set a high bar for admission to accelerated classes, says Federal Way Superintendent Rob Neu. Neu says, under a 2010 district policy, nearly every middle and high school student in Federal Way who meets the state or district standards in a subject now gets automatically enrolled into AP or other accelerated classes. "
As in the proposed legislation, Federal Way students can opt out of advanced classes with their parents’ permission. But Neu says few do. Now, 70 percent of Federal Way high school students are in advanced classes like AP, and most of them are passing the classes.
"...most kids in Federal Way schools fail their AP tests. The passing rate last school year was just 36 percent, compared to 56 percent nationwide.
Walter Parker is a professor of education and political science at the University of Washington who studies the effects of boosting enrollment in AP classes. Parker says it’s a laudable goal to get more poor kids and kids of color ready for college, but if kids aren’t getting the support they need to succeed, it can send them the wrong message. "So for every student who concludes ‘yes, I can do this, I can do college level work,’ there’s a student who concludes ‘well, I can’t really do this, I must not be cut out for college.’ So we have to worry about whether that’s the kind of identity development we want in adolescence," Parker says.
That could be expensive for districts. For instance, it costs $89 to take each AP test, and Federal Way covers those fees for its students. But Litzow says SB 5243 would provide financial incentives for districts where the most students successfully complete the courses and funding for districts that lack accelerated options.
I think this is laudable but again, where is the money? If you have this many more students in those classes, you have to have the trained teachers. There is also the testing fees and materials.
What is interesting is this bill is sponsored by Senator Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island) who is also sponsoring a bill to pay math/science and special ed teachers more. Sounds good, right? According to this article over at Crosscut, he is now balking because surprise! it will cost a lot of money.
Sticker shock hit the Senate's Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee Friday morning.
That shock came at a public hearing on a Republican Senate bill to provide bonuses of 10 percent of base pay to math, science and special education teachers.
The committee staff told the committee that state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction calculations showed that the bill would cost Washington an extra $69.2 million in 2013-2015, an extra $80 million in 2015-2017 and an extra $83.4 million in 2017-19.
At the same time, the Washington Education Association and the Association of Washington School Principals contended that the state is not suffering from shortages of math and science teachers.
All that gave pause to Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer, chairman of the K-12 Education Committee, and co-sponsor of the bill introduced by Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood. Litzow said the committee would have to ponder the cost estimates and the testimony on the abundance of math and science teachers before deciding whether to go ahead with the bill.
He was skeptical of the OSPI's cost estimates, contending the agency has a pattern of providing cost figures that are higher than expected for legislation. "We're going to push back on this," Litzow said. He plans to ask the State Auditor's Office to review OSPI's estimates in recent years on legislation and to find out how accurate those estimates have turned out to be.