Hispanic Students Make Strides on AP Exams, College Board Reports

Ilana Kowarski, Christian Science Monitor, February 11, 2011

{snip}

According to the College Board’s annual report, the “AP Report to the Nation,” 14.6 percent of US high school seniors who passed an AP exam in 2010 were Hispanic, an increase of 2.6 percent since 2001. The rise follows an effort by the College Board to recruit more minority students to take the demanding tests.

{snip}

The increased representation among successful AP test takers by Hispanic students coincides with an even larger increase in their representation in the nation’s high school population. {snip}

While the overall number of AP test takers has nearly doubled since 2001, the College Board says, the number of Hispanic AP test takers has nearly tripled, increasing from 48,354 in 2001 to 136,717 in 2010. The number of passing Hispanic test takers grew from 33,479 to 74,479 over that period.

{snip}

‘More work needs to be done’

{snip}

Despite their progress, Hispanic students were still somewhat underrepresented among those who passed an AP test last year. While Hispanic students were 14.6 percent of those who passed an AP test, they made up 16 percent of AP test takers overall and 16.8 percent of the graduating high school class of 2010. Some 54.5 percent of all Hispanic test takers passed at least one AP test, compared with 59.6 percent of all students and 61.8 percent of white students.

{snip}

Questions about recruitment

The move to increase access to the AP exam has not been without criticism. Robert Schaeffer, public-education director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, says he has reservations about the recruitment campaign.

“It’s questionable whether there’s real educational value in getting everybody to take the AP exam even if they are not academically prepared,” he says in an interview. “It’s not clear that this benefits anyone except for the College Board.”

However, AP calculus teacher Dixie Ross disagrees. Her school in Pflugerville, Texas, is very diverse, with a third of students identifying themselves as Hispanic and a quarter as African-American, she says. Her classes were once filled almost exclusively with white students but now include more minorities, a change she welcomes. The increased number of minority AP test takers is a sign of progress, Ms. Ross says in an interview.

{snip}

Students say AP helps

Ross says her students have told her that their AP experiences helped them succeed in college, and she says this was even true of some students who did not pass the exam.

{snip}

But Mr. Schaeffer argues that expanding the number of AP test takers has “diluted the pool” and produced high failure rates, particularly in math and science. According to the College Board’s own report, the percentage of AP test takers who passed a single exam has dipped since 2001, from 64.3 percent to 59.6 percent. The report also acknowledges that more than 50 percent of biology AP test takers fail the exam.

{snip}

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.

Comments are closed.