AP Courses/Exams And College Graduation Rates

Advanced Placement (AP) courses provide high school students with the opportunity to take college-level courses in high school. DeKalb County School District contends:

  1. Students who successfully complete an AP course are more likely to graduate high school and graduate from college.
  2. The district’s purchase of an AP exam for students will provide greater access and equity for students.

The State of Georgia covers the cost for one AP exam for students who are served by Free & Reduced Lunch (F/R Lunch). The administration is asking the DeKalb School Board to pay for an additional exam for students not on F/R Lunch at $83/exam and students that qualify for F/R Lunch who pay $53/Exam.

1,994 F/R Lunch Exams @ 53.00 each = $105,682
2,275 Regular Lunch Exams @ 83.00 each = $188,825
Total = $294,507

.pdf link icon  AP Exam Cost Estimate Sheet

Related Posts
  Mar 6, 2016 – March 7, 2016 – Board approves Purchase of AP Exam for all students
  Mar 6, 2016 – AP Exams – Tax Dollars

Correlation is not Causality
It is more likely that students who voluntarily choose to take AP courses and exams are the types of students that are already better prepared and highly motivated. Success in college perhaps is not attributed to the AP class and exam themselves, but to the personal characteristics that led them to participate in the class to begin with.

AP Exam Scores
AP exams are graded on a five-point scale where a grade of 3 is considered a C. In 2015 only 16% of the students from Title I schools received a C or higher on their AP Exams while 60% of the non Title 1 students earned a C or higher.  56% of the money this year ($166K of the $294K) is ear marked for the non Title I schools.

.pdf link icon  AP 2011 – 2015 Score Summary

Number of Exams Taken and Percent Scoring 3 or Higher

2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015
R TI # Taken % Passed # % # % # % # %
SYSTEM 8,160 31.7% 8,375 35.3% 7,660 38.0% 7,530 39% 7,451 41%
GEORGIA 106,211 52.2% 116,703 53.9% 142,011 55.4% 136,843 65% 142,587 55%
ARABIA MOUNTAIN 4 1128 7.3% 1003 13.0% 553 20.0% 396 29% 311 28%
CEDAR GROVE 5 Y 233 6.4% 217 7.4% 179 4.0% 181 20% 262 12%
CHAMBLEE 1 982 70.1% 1028 69.3% 1006 74.0% 975 72% 1,062 73%
CLARKSTON 3 Y 92 14.1% 173 11.0% 257 8.0% 252 11% 193 10%
COLUMBIA 5 Y 320 5.0% 308 1.9% 251 6.0% 296 6% 152 19%
CROSS KEYS 1 Y 176 29.5% 161 31.1% 164 36.0% 206 26% 241 23%
DeKalb Early College 3 Y 20 40.0% 16 56% 27 41%
DEK SCHOOL OF ARTS 2 196 54.6% 228 47.4% 260 59.0% 266 71% 252 70%
DRUID HILLS 2 423 50.8% 525 51.2% 505 47.0% 521 53% 552 45%
DUNWOODY 1 888 50.8% 991 49.5% 799 58.0% 874 60% 958 67%
ELIZABETH ANDREWS 2 Y 27 3.7% 29 0.0% 27 0.0% 18 0% 16 0%
LAKESIDE 2 1077 49.8% 1170 58.5% 943 66.0% 968 61% 1,154 57%
LITHONIA 4 Y 189 10.1% 175 11.4% 180 8.0% 186 12% 189 11%
M. L. KING 4 Y 230 12.6% 257 12.8% 253 15.0% 194 3% 213 3%
MCNAIR 5 Y 120 0.8% 123 3.3% 108 2.0% 67 2% 75 0%
MILLER GROVE 4 Y 166 12.0% 178 13.5% 213 9.0% 218 7% 118 14%
REDAN 3 Y 194 9.3% 193 8.3% 197 4.0% 127 12% 98 15%
SOUTHWEST DEKALB 4 Y 450 36.2% 415 40.2% 492 57.0% 438 43% 372 33%
STEPHENSON 3 Y 369 17.6% 341 16.1% 288 14.0% 347 12% 341 13%
STONE MOUNTAIN 3 Y 77 29.9% 114 30.7% 108 35.0% 128 35% 122 21%
TOWERS 5 Y 260 2.3% 164 4.3% 135 1.0% 143 3% 161 2%
TUCKER 2 Y 540 16.3% 582 19.4% 702 15.0% 713 17% 581 20%

2 responses to “AP Courses/Exams And College Graduation Rates

  1. I wonder if the District has any data on the correlation between the grades of students who take the AP class and the scores they make on the AP exam. If not, maybe they should start looking at this.

    I do not think it is a good use of money, the state’s or the District’s, to pay for AP exams for students who aren’t passing the AP course.

    I understand that it is problematic to check grades for block schedule students who are taking the AP course in the spring semester, because AP exams have to be ordered near the beginning of March and thus the students haven’t gotten to “midterm” yet. But just because a problem is difficult doesn’t mean it should be ignored.

    The consistent single digit AP exam “pass” rate at Elizabeth Andrews High, McNair High, and Towers High, and the recent precipitous drop in AP exam “pass” rate at M. L. King, Jr., High are very distressing.

    I wonder who is in charge of the AP program in DCSD. The DCSD website no longer even has a link to the Superintendent’s Organization. Maybe that is part of the problem.

  2. But, wait a minute! I thought the newly improved and coming into the light area supt. Dimpdon (of bow tie fame, literary contempt, and now in a state of euphoria due to his recent “enlightenment” about “discipline”) had changed everything around at Towers and “cleaned up” Towers. Isn’t that why he was bumped back up where he once was? It’s funny how things work in DeKalb but not very.