AP at Scale: Public School Students in Advanced Placement, 1990-2013

The AP program has expanded rapidly since 1990 to become the primary program for providing US public high school students with advanced coursework, with nearly two in five graduates earning AP credit in 2013. Critics of AP’s rapid expansion have warned that the program will be watered down, but the national data do not suggest a decline in AP course takers’ achievement during a period of 35 percent growth over nine years. AP participation gaps by race are persistent over time; they are not driven by gaps in AP access but rather by gaps in preparation for advanced coursework.

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