New York, NY – Today the College Board was named as one of the 2011 recipients of the U.S. Department of Education's Investing in Innovation (i3) grants. The College Board was awarded for its cutting-edge Student Success in AP Biology: Expanding the STEM College Readiness of High-Need Students (SSAP-Bio) project.SSAP-Bio is an innovative approach to supporting the educational success of high-need students by enabling Advanced Placement® (AP®) Biology students to succeed in rigorous science coursework through direct, actionable feedback that research shows to be effective in changing student outcomes. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing additional support for SSAP-Bio with a generous contribution of $260,000 in matching funds.
"I and all of my colleagues at the College Board are tremendously proud to have been chosen by the Department of Education as a recipient of such a prestigious grant," said College Board President, Gaston Caperton. "Innovation has been a hallmark of the United States since the days of Benjamin Franklin, and must continue to be as we move into a 21st century economy based on knowledge and technology."
With College Board's mission of connecting all students to college success and opportunity in mind, SSAP-Bio will develop, pilot, and evaluate new interim assessments that generate technology-enabled student- and classroom-level feedback reports and links to instructional materials that will help students overcome areas of struggle. The ultimate goal of this system is to produce measurable increases in the rates at which high-need students succeed on the AP Biology Exam, earning scores which research demonstrates are closely aligned with improvements in college outcomes for all students – regardless of race, ethnicity or income level.
The SSAP-Bio student- and classroom-level feedback reports build on an innovative system of formative and interim assessments and professional development that enables teachers to identify the most challenging areas of AP Biology content and tailor classroom instruction to their unique student populations.
The College Board's three Official Partners for the development phase of the program are Hillsborough County Public Schools (Tampa, FL); Northside Independent School District (San Antonio, TX); and the North East Florida Educational Consortium (NEFEC). These exciting partnerships will enable SSAP-Bio to serve an estimated 3,000 students during the grant period. Building on the early outcomes of this project, the College Board will be able to quickly expand to the more than 172,500 AP Biology students nationwide, as well as implement the model in other STEM and humanities subject areas.
The Department of Education noted that, "This year's competition required applicants to submit proposals focused on one of 5 absolute priorities, including two new priorities aimed at promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and increasing achievement and high school graduation rates in rural schools. The remaining three priorities focused on supporting effective teachers and principals, implementing high standards and high-quality assessments, and turning around persistently low-performing schools."
The combined value of the College Board's in-kind contribution of $453,522 and the Gates Foundation's contribution of $260,000 amounts to $713,522 or a 23.8% match on the grant amount. The Department of Education is funding $2,998,095 or 76.2% of the total project.
More information on the College Board's Advanced Placement program can be found here.
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About the Advanced Placement Program
The College Board's Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) enables students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Through more than 30 college-level courses, each culminating in a rigorous exam, AP provides willing and academically prepared students with the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement or both. Taking AP courses also demonstrates to college admission officers that students have sought the most rigorous curriculum available to them. Each AP teacher's syllabus is evaluated and approved by college faculty from some of the nation's leading institutions, and AP Exams are developed and scored by college faculty and experienced AP teachers. AP is accepted by more than 3,800 colleges and universities worldwide for college credit, advanced placement or both on the basis of successful AP Exam scores. This includes over 90 percent of four-year institutions in the United States. In 2010, 1.8 million students representing more than 17,000 schools around the world, both public and nonpublic, took 3.2 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 more than 5,900 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.