NEW YORK — On Tuesday, June 26, the College Board will bestow the 2012 AP® Beacon Award upon the state of West Virginia for its dedication to increasing student achievement and college readiness through the Advanced Placement Program®. Jorea M. Marple, state superintendent of schools for the West Virginia Department of Education; Gayle Manchin, vice president of the West Virginia Board of Education; Dixie Billheimer, CEO of the West Virginia Center for Professional Development; Karen R. Linville, director of the Advanced Placement Program for the West Virginia Center for Professional Development and more than 100 AP teachers will join College Board staff for an award ceremony at the Charleston Marriott Town Center at 6 p.m.
West Virginia’s high school student participation in AP has grown from 9 percent in 2001 to 20.5 percent in 2011.
“It is well known that AP is the gold standard of academic rigor, and the kind of AP growth that’s taken place in West Virginia is a direct reflection of the state’s commitment to ensuring that its students are prepared for the challenges of higher education,” said College Board President, Gaston Caperton. “Thanks to these efforts, more students in West Virginia will learn to think critically, construct solid arguments and see each side of a multifaceted issue — skills that will prepare them for college and beyond. The College Board applauds the state, its teachers and its school administrators for making such great strides on issues of excellence and equity in education.”
Over a decade ago, all of West Virginia’s leading education stakeholders started to collaborate on increasing student access to the AP Program. In 2010, the state of West Virginia partnered with the College Board to create WVAP2014, an initiative that set specific goals for enhancing student participation in AP — with a focus on traditionally underserved low-income and minority students — and increasing student success rates on AP Exams. The WVAP2014 program was created through strategic alliances between the College Board, the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, the West Virginia Center for Professional Development (WVCPD), the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Board of Education, and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (WVHEPC).
Goals set forth by WVAP 2014 include:
- Ensuring that 25% of the graduating class of 2014 participates in AP;
- Ensuring that 15% of the graduating class of 2014 earns a score of 3+ on their AP Exams; and
- Closing the equity/excellence gap for African American students by 2014.
“This [Beacon] award is especially significant because we value the stellar content provided to students through the AP curriculum,” said Marple. “We are committed to growing the program and continuing to increase the number of students enrolled in AP classes.”
Another integral part of the WVAP2014 plan is to provide professional development for AP teachers, AP Coordinators and high school building administrators throughout the state. All AP teachers in West Virginia attend either an AP Summer Institute or a one-day AP workshop before teaching any AP course. AP teachers also attend an AP Summer Institute every three years and an AP fall workshop every two years. All AP Coordinators attend one AP workshop annually and high school administrators attend an AP-related workshop every two years.
“For the past six years, the WVCPD has worked aggressively to implement strategies that would help achieve greater AP access and equity,” said Linville. “From equipping county and school-level administrators with the tools to grow AP programs, to ensuring that teachers and Coordinators have access to professional development to strengthen AP rigor and success, we have been committed to opening doors to AP for all students that had remained closed for too long.”
The vast majority of West Virginia’s 55 school districts are located in mostly rural areas. The state’s educators agree that the challenges of preparing their high school graduates for success in college rest largely on their dedicated AP teachers, who engage and support students through the rigors of AP course work and exams.
As Will Hosaflook, principal of Ripley High School and former AP teacher said, “West Virginia has made a tremendous effort to increase and expand rigor in every high school across the state through the AP Program. By legislative action, high-quality professional development and dedicated teachers within our schools we have transformed the educational culture by allowing all our students to excel in a rigorous curriculum. Taking an AP class is now the expectation in West Virginia, not the exception.”
All of West Virginia’s public four- and two-year institutions of higher education recognize the value of AP — in terms of preparing students for success in college and the possibility of saving thousands of dollars in college tuition fees.
“The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education are committed to initiatives such as the College Board’s AP Program that encourage prospective college students to aspire to higher intellectual achievements,” said Kathy Butler, vice chancellor for academic affairs at the WVHEPC. “The high-quality advanced curricular options available through AP afford West Virginia students an opportunity to earn college credit prior to formal admission to our colleges and universities.”
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 email@example.com