AP Test Participation and Passage Rates Increase
More Federal Way students took and passed Advanced Placement exams last year than in previous years– an increase partly due to the district's new Academic Acceleration Policy. In addition, all major ethnic groups participated the testing in higher numbers and/or increased their scores.
This is further evidence that the district's Academic Acceleration Policy has had a positive impact on student achievement. In August, Cambridge Preparatory Academy and International Baccalaureate testing results for the district showed similar increases.
The district's findings coincide with the College Board's eighth annual "AP Report to the Nation," which indicates an increase in both the number of Washington students taking AP tests, and in their scores as well. Washington ranks eighth among all states.
"These results are solid evidence that the premises of the Academic Acceleration Policy are on target," Superintendent Rob Neu said. "We have long known that students will rise to the expectations we have of them, and our students are clearly doing so."
The Academic Acceleration Policy automatically places qualified students in rigorous academic programs of study. Until the 2010-2011 school year, Federal Way allowed students to decide for themselves whether to enroll in advanced classes. Enrollment in advanced courses at high schools across the district increased markedly following the implementation of the policy.
Before the policy's implementation, many qualified students chose not to enroll, giving a variety of reasons including the perception that "those classes" just weren't meant for them. The number of students enrolled in advanced classes nearly doubled when the new policy was implemented and the composition of advanced classes now better reflects the ethnic diversity of the district. Read more about the Academic Acceleration Policy. "We've always believed that our kids could and would rise to the challenge," FWPS Board President Tony Moore said. "They've surpassed our expectations."
Some key points from the district's 2011 AP testing data:
- The number of FWPS students testing in 2011 increased by 10.7% to 990 total.
- That number includes students who took at least one test, as well as many that took two or more tests, for a total of 1,545 AP tests taken by FWPS students in 2011. This was an increase of 10.9% district wide.
- As a whole, Federal Way students' scores of 3 or higher increased 8% from 2010 – FWPS students earned 434 scores of 3's or higher in 2011.
All ethnic groups increased their participation and/or scores of 3 or higher, the recommended level to qualify for college credit.
- American Indian or Alaskan Native had increased participation (50%) and an increase in scores of 3 or higher (300%). (Note that this particular subgroup consists of a very small number of students, causing wide swings in percentage changes).
- Asian and Pacific Islander had decreased participation (-3.9%), but an increase in scores of 3 or higher (7%).
- Black or African American had increased participation (21.8%) and an increase in scores of 3 or higher (15%).
- Hispanic or Latino had increased participation (55.6%), but a decrease in scores of 3 or higher (-24%).
- White or Caucasian had increased participation (10%) and an increase in scores of 3 or higher (8.9%).
The most popular AP exams in the district last year were (in order): English Language, U.S. History, English Literature, Calculus AB, World History, Comparative Government, Statistics, U.S. Government, and Biology.
"Open the door to take the exams, and students will step through and accept the challenge," said Barb Dittrich, supervisor for the AP program at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. "They can handle the rigor. They can attain the achievement because our teachers prepare them."
AP exams, which are offered in 34 subjects, are given each May and are scored on a scale from one to five. The most popular AP exams in Washington are (in order): English language, U.S. history, English literature, calculus AB, U.S. government and politics, biology, world history, statistics, chemistry and European history.
To view the "AP Report to the Nation," including state-by-state results, please visit www.collegeboard.com/apreport.
Posted: February 13, 2012