AP Exams Mark Passage to a Bright Future

Students in the Global Teaching Project’s Advanced STEM Access Program just concluded the academic year by taking Advanced Placement exams in AP Biology, AP Computer Science Principles, AP Physics 1, and AP Statistics.

Simply by taking the exams, our students earned a place among the state’s top students. 

According to recent data from College Board, which created and continues to administer the AP program across the nation, just 0.2 percent of Mississippi public high school students even attempt the AP Physics 1 exam each year.  The numbers for AP Biology, AP Computer Science Principles, and AP Statistics are comparable—all less than one-half of one percent.

The communities we serve include the most impoverished counties and school districts in the state and, by some metrics, the nation.  Those communities also are home to very bright students with a passion to excel.

In recent years, some students we serve in the 10 poorest Mississippi counties (of 82 total) have achieved among the highest AP scores in the state in AP Biology, AP Computer Science Principles, and AP Physics 1, earning college credit that may be used at hundreds of universities nationally.  (AP Statistics is new to our program this year, so this year’s exams will be our students‘ first in that subject.)

Our students also benefit in ways not immediately evident in AP scores.  Substantial data confirms what common sense suggests—students who take on the rigor of AP science courses, and build their study skills and substantive foundations as a consequence, have better academic outcomes, regardless of AP exam scores.  A 2021 study analyzed college enrollment records of approximately 1.5 million students and a subsample of 410,000 students for whom college grades were available, and found that AP students who did not score a 3 or higher on AP exams (typically, the threshold for earning college credit) still were more likely to enroll in college and succeed in college introductory coursework.

Hard work yields benefits, and academic rigor leads to success.  We are proud of the work our students have put in, and look forward to the results that hard work will produce in the years ahead.