The Spokane School District is stepping up to help more students prepare to take Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school.
The eastern Washington district recently earned the distinction of being the only school district in the nation to qualify all their comprehensive high schools (five total) for a pilot program from The College Board known as “Pre-AP.”
According to The College Board, the Pre-AP Program – offered initially offered to just 100 schools – provides “instructional resources and classroom-based assessments to schools that are interested in earning an official Pre-AP designation from the College Board.”
Jim Allen of The Spokesman Review reports the District was eager to enroll in the program, which involved meeting these criteria:
- aligning instruction to The College Board course framework,
- participating in professional training and
- opening the courses to all students
Why AP? AP courses remain a popular choice for high school students. Because many colleges offer college credit and/or advanced placement with qualifying AP test scores, AP courses can potentially help students and families save money on college costs (through earned credit) or place out of pre-requisite courses for the major (allowing more time to focus on higher level coursework). They’re also a way to demonstrate to college admissions’ officers that a student has taken challenging courses in their high school.
More broadly, AP classes give students the chance to experience rigorous coursework like what they’d encounter in their first year of college. Students are offered a deeper look at subjects that interest them while building their research and communication skills. According to The College Board, students who take AP classes are more likely to earn a college degree on time.
And the numbers speak for themselves. Nationally, more than 1.17 million students in the class of 2017 took 3.98 million AP exams, up from 1.14 million students in 2016 and 691,437 in the class of 2007.
Getting ready for college – with Pre-AP courses, The College Board hopes to encourage more students to give AP courses a try later in high school, especially students who may be worried they aren’t up to the task. The College Board and school districts also hope the program encourages more students from low-income families to explore AP.
Read Jim Allen, The Spokesman Review Spokane Public Schools’ pre-AP offerings unique in nation here.
Read more about The College Board’s new Pre-AP Program here.