Colloquium Recap: Access to Challenging Coursework
Colloquium Recap: Access to Challenging CourseworkRobert Fuller, Director, Executive Communications
Students who take challenging course work in high school, particularly Advanced Placement (AP), are more likely to get into and graduate from colleges of their choice, and educational and political institutions are taking note. In a morning colloquium, College Board Associate Director of Social Justice Nicole Young and two former high school teachers -- Colorado State Representative James Wilson and Towson University Professor of Mathematics Gail Kaplan – discussed innovative projects aimed at providing more students with the access and the will to challenge themselves academically.
Rep. Wilson shed light on the severely limited access of rural students to AP classes. He noted that of the 179 public school districts in Colorado, 101 offer no AP classes. To begin to give rural students their equal due, he sponsored Colorado HB14-1118, an Advanced Placement Incentives Pilot Program to expand access to AP classes in rural schools, as well as to students who participate in the school lunch program. The bill was signed into law in June.
Though bringing AP to more schools is essential, said Young, it’s just one factor in increasing access. Pointing out that many students with AP potential don’t take AP classes even in schools where AP exists, Young outlined the College Board’s All In campaign, designed to effect a cultural shift and ensure that 100% of African American, Latino, and Native American students with AP Potential enroll in at least one matched AP class. Because teenagers may not recognize their own talent, or because they may feel intimidated by or not recognize the value of AP, All In calls upon the adults in students’ lives – including teachers, counselors, principals, and superintendents – to provide ongoing encouragement and support to help them succeed.
Professor Kaplan offered an example of a program created to solve another issue of access: the sheer difficulty of achieving and sustaining success in teaching and learning rigorous course material. Using AP Calculus as the initial focus, she helped launch Towson’s Access to Rigor Collaboration with local school districts in Maryland to offer enhanced training for teachers, summer “boot camps” for students, and a pilot program aimed at awarding credentials for pre-service teachers.
The colloquium was moderated by Ted Gardella, Executive Director of AP Strategy & Professional Development at the College Board, who also discussed other College Board partnerships that are delivering increased access to AP and other challenging courses. These include AP STEM Access, a partnership with Google and DonorsChoose.org, and AP Opportunity, a partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. We encourage you to inquire and learn about these and all the great work being done to increase access to AP.