A couple of days ago, the Kentucky Department of Education released new public school Advanced Placement Test (AP) data for 2009 along with a notable amount of older data from earlier years.
The table below, which comes directly from the department’s news release, shows that the number of students who got a college credit level AP score (a 3, 4 or 5) rose for all reported ethnic categories. That is certainly good news at a time when the state needs more college-educated citizens to meet the demands of the new economy.
The department’s news release lists a number of the efforts to improve our AP programs but failed to mention the latest, and perhaps most important of all. That was legislation in Senate Bill 2 from the 2008 Regular session.
Senate Bill 2 created a number of new programs to enrich teacher preparation for AP instructor duties and for the first time adds KEES college scholarship award “kickers” for students who qualify for the federal school lunch program – an indicator of low income – who get a 3 or higher. The students covered by the new 2009 AP data were the first ones eligible for the KEES AP boosts, and I see some indication in the results that the plan is working.
This next table might make that a bit clearer. This slide shows the percentage change in the number of students scoring a 3 or more on the AP by racial group. For example, the top left figure shows that in 2001 the proportion of African-Americans getting a 3 or more on the AP rose by 2.4 percent.
Notice in the table I shaded declines in the percentages from the previous year in red. One of the first things that jumps out at me is that in 2009, for the first time since 2005, no ethnic group had a decline in the percentage of students scoring 3’s and above.
The next notable thing is that in 2009 every single group posted at least a double-digit percentage increase in AP successes. In previous years, at least one group had only either single digit positive increases or a decline.
Finally, looking at the bottom line, which summarizes the trends for all students averaged together, the change in the percentage getting a 3 or higher between 2008 and 2009, 19.8 percent, is the largest ever.
So, it looks like the overall effort to increase Kentucky’s AP performance is having a positive effect.
I’ll have some more interesting news on the AP situation tomorrow, so stay tuned.