Arkadelphia Public Schools Placed on the College Board’s 3rd Annual AP District Honor Roll for Significant Gains in Advanced Placement Access and Student Performance
Record 539 Districts Honored
Arkadelphia Public Schools is one of 539 school districts from 44 states in the U.S. and 6 Canadian provinces being honored by the College Board with placement on the 3rd Annual AP District Honor Roll for simultaneously increasing access to Advanced Placement course work while increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams. Achieving both of these goals is the ideal scenario for a district’s AP program because it indicates that the district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are likely to benefit most from rigorous AP course work. Since 2010, Arkadelphia Public Schools has increased the number of students participating in AP classes by 37 percent while improving the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher by six percent. More than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the U.S. offer college credit, advanced placement or both for a score of 3 or above on an AP Exam — which can potentially save students and their families thousands of dollars in college tuition.
Arkadelphia Public Schools is one of six districts in Arkansas to make the AP District Honor Roll and Superintendent Donnie Whitten attributed much of the success of the Arkadelphia AP program to the district’s participation in the Arkansas Advanced Initiative for Math and Science (AAIMS), which provides teacher training and incentives for students and teachers to participate in AP courses.
“Our AP program is the center of a lot of excitement in our district. AP coupled with AAIMS produced significant increases in the number of students taking, and passing, AP exams."
-Donnie Whitten, APS Superintendent
“Our AP program is the center of a lot of excitement in our district,” Whitten said. “AP coupled with AAIMS produced significant increases in the number of students taking, and passing, AP exams. We want to provide the most challenging curriculum for all of our students, and make way for as many opportunities as possible for our students and staff to better their educational experience. As a district, we will continue raising the bar for academic rigor and I expect our students and staff to continue answering the call.”
“We applaud the extraordinary efforts of the devoted teachers and administrators in the Arkadelphia Public Schools, who are fostering rigorous work worth doing. These educators have not only expanded student access to AP course work, but they have enabled more of their students to achieve on a college level—which is helping to create a strong college-going culture,” College Board President, David Coleman, said.
Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many districts are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to expand access and improve student performance simultaneously.
“There has been a great victory among educators who have believed that a more diverse population could indeed succeed in AP courses. In 2012, AP scores were higher than they’d been since 2004, when one million fewer students were being given access. These outcomes are a powerful testament to educators’ belief that many more students were indeed ready and waiting for the sort of rigor that would prepare them for what they would encounter in college,” Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of the Advanced Placement Program, said. “While we recognize that there is still much work to be done to prepare students for college, I find myself inspired daily by what they are achieving.”
Inclusion on the 3rd Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on the examination of three years of AP data, from 2010 to 2012, for the following criteria:
Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts and at least 11 percent in small districts;
Ensure that the percentage of African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian/Alaska Native students taking AP Exams did not decrease by more than 5 percent for large and medium districts or by more than 10 percent for small districts;
Improve performance levels when comparing the percentage of students in 2012 scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2010, unless the district has already attained a performance level in which more than 70 percent of the AP students are scoring a 3 or higher.
When these outcomes have been achieved among an AP student population made up of 30 percent or more underrepresented minority students (Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native) and/or 30 percent or more low-income students (students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch), a symbol has been affixed to the district name to highlight this work.
The complete 3rd Annual AP District Honor Roll can be found here.
About the Advanced Placement Program
The College Board’s AP Programenables willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies — with the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement or both — while still in high school. Through AP courses in 34 subjects, each culminating in a rigorous exam, students learn tothink critically, construct solid arguments and see many sides of an issue — skills that prepare them for college and beyond. Taking AP courses demonstrates to college admission officers that students have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them, and research indicates that students who score a 3 or higher on an AP Exam typically experience greater academic success in college and are more likely to earn a college degree than non-AP students. Each AP teacher’s syllabus is evaluated and approved by faculty from some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities, and AP Exams are developed and scored by college faculty and experienced AP teachers. Most four-year colleges and universities in the United States grant credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of successful AP Exam scores — more than 3,600 institutions worldwide annually receive AP scores. In the last decade, participation in the AP Program has more than doubled and graduates succeeding on AP Exams have nearly doubled. In May 2012, 2.1 million students representing more than 18,000 schools around the world, both public and nonpublic, took 3.7 million AP Exams.
About the College Board
The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT and the Advanced Placement Program. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools. For further information, visit www.collegeboard.org.
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.
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(originally published Nov, 2012)