Bridging the opportunity divide in advanced coursework: the AP Expansion Initiative
HISD's AP Pipeline Initiative is a five-year comprehensive plan to dramatically increase AP participation, passing rates, and offerings (especially in STEM) at 19 high schools. These high schools, referred to as Opportunity 19 campuses, have been historically under-resourced with significant populations of students transferring out of their attendance zone every year. The AP Pipeline initiative provides targeted classroom interventions, training, and programmatic support to ensure all students have access to AP courses and exams, and the academic resources required to succeed in them.
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HISD's Opportunity 19 Schools
The Office of College and Career Readiness has identified 19 comprehensive high schools whose AP passing rates for the past five years are significantly less than the District’s average of 39% or who have the potential to significantly increase the number of students taking AP courses using AP potential. In addition, all 19 schools have low passing rates on STEM exams (ranging from 0% to 15% for the past five years). Schools are grouped into three tiers, with the 9 Tier III campuses receiving the most extensive supports.
TIER IIIThe AP Expansion Initiative is designed to significantly close equity gaps in AP passing rates within five years and produce scholars at these 19 high schools who can take on successfully the rigors of demanding majors in STEM, pre-law, and health care.The importance of access to AP
AP students who earn a score of 1 or 2, or average a score of 1 or 2 across their AP Exams in high school, have better college outcomes than academically similar college students who did not take an AP course and exam.
How data can drive course-selection processThe AP Expansion Initiative will provide campuses with data on their incoming 9th grade (and existing) students to help guide their course selection process, with campuses committing to offering the courses and ensuring students are scheduled into them. Using a variety of data points, including STAAR Scores, PSAT Scores, and AP Potential reports where available, a campus can generate a list of students who have the academic capacity to perform well in an HISD Advanced (soon to be PreAP) course. The Pipeline will provide campuses with the data on their incoming 9th grade (and existing) students to help guide their course selection process – but the campus must commit to offering the courses and ensuring that the students are actually scheduled into them.Investing in preAP curriculum for each campusPre-AP courses are intended to prepare students for subsequent instruction in AP courses. As such, Pre-AP courses should embed the same skills and processes that students need to perform tasks on subsequent AP exams. The Expansion Initiative includes invesment in the preAP curriculum from College Board for each campus. Utilize this common curriculum, benchmarks, assessments and mock exams to monitor student performance. By increasing the rigor of the 9th and 10th grade courses in a structured way, more students will be prepared for the rigor of the AP courses that are offered in the 11th and 12th grade.
AP students, including those with average scores of 1 or 2, are more likely to enroll in a four-year college compared to academically similar students who did not take AP in high school. AP students who average scores of 1 or 2 on their AP Exams are 16 and 19 percentage points, respectively, more likely to enroll in a four-year college than academically similar peers who did not take AP.
Students who earn AP scores of 2 are well prepared to succeed in introductory college coursework. Compared to academically similar college peers who did not take the AP course, AP students who earn scores of 2 perform as well or better when they take those introductory college courses.
Many students who first score a 1 or 2 on an AP Exam will take further AP courses and score higher. Depending on when students take their first AP Exam, 61%–84% of students who earn a 2 on their first AP Exam will take another AP Exam in subsequent years. Students who earn a 1 on their first AP Exam are also very likely (49%–70%) to take more AP courses and exams in high school. Many students who first earn an AP Exam score of 1 or 2 will then earn a higher score on the subsequent AP Exams they take. This trend is particularly true for 9th- and 10th-grade students who earn a score of 2 on their first AP Exam.
The Pre-AP Designation emphasizes the most critical elements to encourage student growth and the development of the skills that help them achieve their full potential, including:
Building Teacher Capacity
Best in Class Assignments
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Comprehensive, On-Going, Year-Long Professional Development Supports AP Teachers
Summer Intensive Institute, six-week formative assessment participation with PLCs to reflect and adjust instruction, Fall and Spring workshops, exam scoring calibration with mock exams and grading days, and dedicated coaching from AP course specialists.
Centrally Funded Deans of Instruction Provide Support for Teachers
Centrally funded Deans of Instruction help grow AP teachers’ skills, building sustainable AP pipelines through scheduling and recruitment, and providing counseling that connects AP course work to a scholar’s major. Finally, the dean will review opportunities to attend top tier colleges, which come from taking AP classes and scoring well on the exams. All Tiers will receive extensive AP training through Rice, UH, NMSI, and the College Board. We propose mandating AVID across all 19 campuses as well as middle school feeder patterns. We further recommend augmenting teacher training, with the roll out of College Board’s pre-AP curriculum. The curriculum, when taught with fidelity, is an opportunity to ensure students across these 19 schools receive instruction that is rigorously aligned to the demands expected of college-bound students.
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