Officials overseeing the Advanced Placement program have announced that they intend to drop AP classes and exams in four subject areas, in a pullback expected to affect about 12,500 students and 2,500 teachers worldwide.
Following the end of the 2008-09 academic year, there will be no AP courses or exams in Italian, Latin literature, French literature, and computer science AB, said officials at the College Board, the New York City-based nonprofit organization that owns the AP brand.
The College Board has in past years withdrawn one undersubscribed AP course at a time, but has never taken so many courses off its table of offerings in the half-century since the program started as a way for students to take college-level courses and potentially earn college credit while still in high school.
Mr. Packer said the decision was made principally because of demographic considerations.
Only a tiny fraction of the members of underrepresented minority groups who take AP exams take the tests in one of those four affected subject areas, he said.
The College Board has made it a priority to reach such students, including those who are African-American and Hispanic.
“For us, [the question is], are we able to achieve our mission of reaching a broader range of students?” Mr. Packer said.