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No Child Left Behind: A Desktop Reference
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Advanced Placement (I-G)


The Advanced Placement (AP) programs are designed to increase the number of low-income students participating in AP classes and taking AP tests by helping to pay test fees for low-income students in AP classes and expanding access to AP classes through increased teacher training and other activities.

Increasing AP course participation and test completion have become important goals, as one way to improve the rigor of high school curricula and students' readiness for college. AP courses challenge students to master college-level work while in high school. The tests, which are designed, administered, and scored by educational entities such as the College Board and the International Baccalaureate Organization, provide objective measures of skill that colleges value, often awarding students college credit for passing the exams with a certain score. As parents, students, teachers, and colleges have come to view AP courses as a signal of educational excellence, the number of exams taken has risen from less than 200,000 in 1981, to more than 1.4 million in 2001.

WHAT'S NEW--The No Child Left Behind Act

Reduces Bureaucracy and Increases Flexibility

  • Moves authorization for the program to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act from the Higher Education Amendments, allowing the program to be better integrated with other efforts to raise standards and increase academic achievement at the secondary level.
  • Designates more entities as eligible to receive grants and provide services. In addition to states, local school districts and national nonprofit educational entities with expertise in AP services are now eligible to receive competitive grants.

How It Works

Title I, Part G, now includes two separate programs.

  1. Advanced Placement Test Fee Program: Grants are awarded to states to pay test fees for low-income students enrolled in AP courses. Funds are allocated to states based on the number of low-income students in the state in relation to the total number of low-income students in the nation.
  2. Advanced Placement Incentive Program: One- to three-year, competitive grants are awarded to state education agencies (SEAs), school districts, and national nonprofit educational entities with expertise in AP services. Grants are designed to expand access to and participation in AP courses and tests for low-income students through teacher training, developing "pre-AP" and AP courses, coordinating and articulating curricula between grade levels to enhance student preparation for AP courses, and promoting online AP course-taking for students in schools that are unable to offer AP courses. Funding priority will be given to projects that demonstrate a pervasive need, involve business and community organizations in grant activities, provide matching funds, increase participation in online AP courses, focus on English, math, and science AP course-taking, and focus activities on districts and schools with high concentrations of low-income students.

How Performance Is Measured

All grantees (states, and in the case of the Incentive Program, local school districts and eligible national nonprofit entities) must report annually to the U.S. Department of Education on the number of students in the state or project, by subject area and by student demographic characteristics, who are taking an AP course, taking an AP test, and scoring at the different levels of proficiency.

Key Activities For The State Education Agencies

State education agencies must report AP participation and test outcome data to the U.S. Department of Education.

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Last Modified: 09/14/2007