Advanced Placement™ in Higher Education
A new unit within the Advanced Placement Program® was established last July in an effort to further deepen the Program’s current relationships with higher education institutions and to find ways in which it can even better serve this important constituency. The College and University Services unit, directed by Michael Kabbaz, began its work by overseeing an extensive qualitative and quantitative field research initiative, asking hundreds of college faculty and admissions officers from institutions across the nation how they currently use AP® in their admissions recruitment and selection process and how they award credit, advanced placement or both to incoming students.
Some of the early field research findings included the following:
- Institutions use AP to determine college preparedness, student motivation and course placement.
- College faculty department chairs reported little change over the last few years in their AP credit and placement policies for students to obtain course credit, advanced placement or both.
- Eighty-five percent of admissions officers surveyed reported that the AP course experience favorably impacts admissions decisions.
- Ninety-seven percent of college faculty department chairs reported that their institution currently uses AP for either credit, advanced placement or both.
Although the research is ongoing, AP’s College and University Services unit plans to use these field research findings to create the necessary infrastructure to better support higher education’s critical role in the success of AP. The market research findings are expected to be completed by late March.
Since the AP Program™ began in 1955, colleges and universities have played, and continue to play, a crucial role in its development and ongoing success. To create the college-level curricula of 37 AP course and exam subjects, the College Board continually solicits expertise from more than 4,700 college and university faculty throughout the country who teach the corresponding college courses. These professors represent a diverse range of institutions, such as Yale University,
Florida State University and Haverford College. This ensures
that AP courses and exams reflect and accurately measure
college-level teaching and learning.
College faculty members contribute to the AP Program in the following ways:
- Exam questions are developed by college faculty who teach the college courses upon which AP courses are modeled, and college faculty members also serve as chairs of all AP Development Committees.
- To ensure that AP’s standards meet or exceed the standards at colleges and universities nationwide, AP Exams are pre-administered to college students. The student performance results show that AP courses remain comparable in rigor, quality and student learning to college courses at these institutions.
- Each June, thousands of college faculty come together to score the free-response sections of AP Exams at the AP Reading. College faculty members serve as Chief Readers for all exam evaluations.
Additionally, the AP Course Audit included more than 800 college and university faculty who reviewed more than 130,000 AP teachers’ courses at more than 14,000 high schools. The AP Course Audit was created at the request of secondary school and college members of the College Board to provide AP teachers and secondary school administrators with clear guidelines on the curricular and resource requirements of each AP course. The audit assures colleges and universities that AP courses are designed to meet the same clearly articulated college-level criteria across all high schools participating in the AP Program. For more information on the results of the AP Course Audit, please visit www.collegeboard.com/apcourseledger.
Research studies, such as those conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, and the National Center for Educational Accountability, continue to suggest that an AP Exam grade of 3 or better is a strong predictor of success in college.
For these reasons, more than 3,600 colleges and universities around the world recognize AP for credit, placement and/or admissions decisions, including more than 90 percent of four-year colleges and universities in the United States.