Above, AHS advanced placement students in AAIMS subject areas display their award certificates shortly after the group collectively received $7,100 for passing AP exams.
Arkadelphia High School is one of 39 schools in Arkansas which was selected to participate in the Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Math and Science. The AAIMS program provides teacher training and student and teacher incentives for succeeding in advanced placement (AP) courses. The central focus of the program is to increase the number of students enrolling in, and earning college credit through, the more challenging AP classes. Since the AAIMS program is designed to assist the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Initiative (STEM), the AP classes included in AAIMS are only Math, Science and English.
When the number of passing scores on Math, Science and English AP assessments is multiplied by the average cost per college class in Arkansas, the total represents the amount that AAIMS students state-wide offset college expenses in the 2011-12 school year. By earning these college credits as high school students passing AP exams, they collectively saved $1,956,930 in tuition alone.
$215 (average cost per college credit hour in Arkansas)
X 3 (hours per average class)
$645 (tuition cost per class)
X 3,034 (AAIMS-supported passing AP scores)
Using the same figures for calculating college tuition, AHS students offset college tuition expenses by $45,795. Fifty-two AHS students earned 71 passing scores on AP assessments in Math, Science and English during the 2011-12 school year. Not only will these students enter college with credit hours already accumulating, but they will be better prepared for the academic challenges of higher education because of the increased rigor of the high school AP curriculum.
“This curriculum, paired with our intense training and open enrollment, has allowed our campus to really dig deep and prepare our graduates for the rigor of college and career,” AHS Principal David Maxwell said.
$645 (tuition cost per class)
X 71 (passing AHS AP scores for 2011-12)
At September 19’s AAIMS award assembly held at AHS, $14,200 of cash incentives were distributed to students and teachers. For every passing score a student earns on a Math, Science or English AP exam, they receive $100. For every student that earns as passing score on an AP exam in Math, Science or English, the teacher of that class earns $100. And cash incentives are just the beginning. AAIMS provides extensive training for the AP /Pre-AP teachers during the summer as well as sessions throughout the school year. With the additional training, the teachers provide Saturday test prep sessions, after school tutoring, lead teacher to teacher teaming, and vertical team meetings for both middle school and high school campuses.
“This program has dramatically increased the number of students in my AP classes,” AHS AP Chemistry teacher Tanya Ruble said. “But more than that, it has provided me with training to ensure that I am able to help my students achieve success on the AP exams.”
$100 (cash incentive per passing score for student / teacher)
X 71 (passing scores)
$7,100 to students / $7,100 to teachers
In 2010 and prior to their involvement in AAIMS, AHS produced 35 passing scores on AP assessments. In 2012, after AAIMS had been in place for two years, the number of passing scores on AP assessments at AHS increased 103 percent, from 35 to 71. This statistic demonstrates that AAIMS is effective in achieving its primary goal: Producing more passing scores on AP assessments in Math, Science and English and therefore better preparing high school graduates for further study in STEM subject areas.
“The results from the past two years show a rather dramatic increase in enrollment in these challenging AP courses,” AHS AAIMS coordinator Nancy Mortensen said.
Participation in the AP program at AHS has also seen a substantial increase. In 2010, 252 AP assessments were administered. In 2012, that number increased to 459. Some students even elect to take AP assessments in subjects that are not offered at AHS as a class, yet several still pass the AP test.
AHS ranked No. 4 in Arkansas in The Washington Post’s High School challenge index. The index score is the number of college-level tests given at a school in 2011 divided by the number of graduates that year.
The Washing Post ranking in Arkansas – top 20
|1||Little Rock Central||Little Rock|
|3||Parkview Arts/Sci Magnet||Little Rock|
|5||KIPP Delta Collegiate||Helena-West Helena|
|6||LISA Academy||Little Rock|
|7||Wilbur D. Mills University Studies||Little Rock|
|8||Haas Hall Academy||Fayetteville|
|11||Dumas (AP pass rate under 10%)||Dumas|
|17||Brinkley (AP pass rate under 10%)||Brinkley|
|18||Rogers High School||Rogers|
|20||Rivercrest (AP pass rate under 10%)||Wilson|
Arkadelphia Public Schools serves more than 2,000 students in Clark County, Arkansas, ranging from 6-weeks-old through college- and career-readiness - and is home of the Arkadelphia Promise.
More about the local and national AIMS program:
The Walton Family Foundation and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation are partners with Arkansas AIMS. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is the supporting partner, and Arkansas AIMS is housed at UALR.
About the National Math + Science AP Program and the Arkansas advanced Initiative for Math and Science: The National Math + Science AP Program dramatically increases the performance of high school students in rigorous AP courses in math, science, and English. The comprehensive approach includes intensive teacher training, support from master teachers, more time on task for students in special study sessions, open enrollment, and incentives. Passing AP exam scores are almost universally accepted for course credit by the nation’s colleges and universities, which see success in AP courses as reliable indicators of students’ subject-area knowledge and capacity for college-level thinking.
About National Math + Science: National Math + Science, a nonprofit organization, is an agent of change that was launched in 2007 by top leaders in business, education, and science to improve student achievement in math and science across the American public school system. National Math + Science’s mission is to bring best practices to the education sector by replicating proven programs on a national scale: the AP Program; Laying the Foundation, which provides training and resources for pre-AP and AP teachers; and UTeach, a program to recruit and prepare college students to become qualified math, science and computer science teachers.
National Math + Science has received major funding support for its ground-breaking national initiatives from Exxon Mobil Corporation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, with additional support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and Lockheed Martin Corporation.
(originally published Sep, 2012)