NEW YORK — The College Board is announcing the California AP Potential Expansion (CAPE) initiative, a pilot program to help bring Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) courses into approximately 200 California public schools that currently offer few or no AP courses yet have many students with strong potential to succeed. The pilot program supports California’s state law SB 532, which encourages all public high schools to offer at least five AP courses. The AP Program offers willing and academically prepared high school students the opportunity to study at a college level, enabling them to develop the critical thinking skills necessary for college success.
California State Sen. Ed Hernandez, O.D. (D-West Covina) — a staunch supporter of educational equity and excellence — spent three years working with his colleagues in California’s state assembly and senate to ensure that SB 532 was passed. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 6, 2011.
“I firmly believe in the idea that education is the greatest equalizer, and having access to AP classes provides greater opportunities for our students. We need to ensure that all of California’s students are afforded access to these types of courses and the opportunities they bring. This program is a strong first step in that direction,” said Hernandez.
The College Board has created the CAPE program in support of SB 532. The program will help fund professional development and additional educational materials to launch AP courses in 200 schools. The College Board will offer full-tuition scholarships for the new AP teachers to attend an AP Summer Institute, and schools will receive help from the College Board, DonorsChoose.org, and Innovate Foundation in acquiring college textbooks and materials such as science lab equipment and graphing calculators.
The CAPE initiative will focus on those high school students who are most likely to succeed in AP, but are unfortunately not being given the opportunity to take AP classes.
“A recent analysis of California’s high school students from the 2011 PSAT shows that over 168,000 students have the potential to succeed in at least one AP course; unfortunately many of the schools they attend do not offer those AP courses. This pilot is an attempt to help these students access the AP course for which they have the highest likelihood of success,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president for Advanced Placement and College Readiness at the College Board. “Traditionally underserved minority and low-income students remain underrepresented in AP classrooms throughout the country, so we are eager to support bills like SB 532 that are designed to eliminate such inequities.”
Research shows that the AP Program can provide a cost-effective way for high school students to earn college credit or advanced placement while still in high school.
The 200 qualifying pilot schools were chosen because they offer eight or fewer AP courses yet have many students with strong AP potential. If these schools decide to participate in the CAPE program, they will:
- Use PSAT/NMSQT® test data to identify overlooked “diamond in the rough” students with the potential to benefit from participation in an AP course;
- Based on the AP potential of their student population, determine if the school should add any new AP courses to meet student needs;
- Invite all students with high AP potential to enroll in new and existing AP courses;
- Identify teachers who will teach the new AP courses;
- Receive scholarships from the College Board to fund registration fees for participating teachers to attend an AP Summer Institute — a four to five day professional development workshop;
- Be eligible for supplemental funding from the College Board and DonorsChoose.org for textbooks and other essential materials for AP courses; and
- Receive ongoing support and technical assistance from the College Board to ensure successful implementation.
Participating schools will make a commitment to offer new AP courses for a minimum of three years beginning in fall 2012 or fall 2013. The College Board will evaluate the program in three to five years to determine its success in increasing college readiness across the diversity of students in participating high schools.
California’s severe budget deficit, which threatens funding cuts for educational programs — combined with research showing that thousands of the state’s best and brightest students were underserved in terms of access to AP course offerings — made it an ideal state in which to pilot such a program.
“We are very fortunate to receive the support needed to give more of our students the opportunity to experience AP course work — where they will learn how to think critically, construct solid arguments and see many sides of an issue — all skills that prepare students for success in college and beyond,” said Tom Torlakson, California’s superintendent of public instruction.
DonorsChoose.org (www.donorschoose.org) is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Participating schools that request textbooks and materials through DonorsChoose.org this summer will qualify for partial funding from the College Board and the Innovate Foundation of California. Individuals visiting DonorsChoose.org from across the country will then be able to complete the funding needed for expanded AP course work in the 200 CAPE pilot schools across the state of California. To date, 270,000 public and charter school teachers have used DonorsChoose.org to secure $112 million in books, art supplies, technology and other resources that their students need to learn.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of this initiative and increase access to rigorous curricula within our nation’s public schools,” said Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org.
Based on the results of this pilot program in California, the College Board will consider creating similar programs in additional states.
About the Advanced Placement Program
The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) enables 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 2011, nearly two million students representing more than 18,000 schools around the world, both public and nonpublic, took 3.4 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.
Deborah Davis The College Board 212-713-8052 firstname.lastname@example.org