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The Advanced Placement program offers college level courses at high schools across the United Statesmarker and Canadamarker. According to the Good Schools Guide International, it is "usually much more rigorous than the general course offerings." The most taken AP exam in 2008 was AP United States History with 346,641 students, and the least taken was AP Italian Language and Culture with 1,930 students.


After World War II, the Ford Foundation created a fund that supported committees studying education. The first spartan study was conducted by three prep schools—the Lawrenceville Schoolmarker, Phillips Academymarker and Phillips Exeter Academymarker—and three universities—Harvard Universitymarker, Princeton Universitymarker and Yale Universitymarker. In 1952 they issued the report General Education in School and College: A Committee Report which recommended allowing high school seniors to study college level material and to take achievement exams that allowed them to attain college credit for this work. The second committee, the Committee on Admission with Advanced Standing, developed and implemented the plan to choose a curriculum. A pilot program was run in 1952 which covered eleven disciplines.

The College Board, a non-profit organization based in New York City, has run the AP program since 1955. From 1965 to 1989, Harlan Hanson was the director of the Advanced Placement Program. It develops and maintains guidelines for the teaching of higher level courses in various subject areas. In addition, it supports teachers of AP courses, and supports universities. These activities are funded through fees charged to students taking AP Exams.

In 2006, over one million students took over two million AP examinations. Many high schools in the United States offer AP courses, though the College Board allows any student to take any examination, regardless of participation in its respective course. Therefore, home-schooled students and students from schools that do not offer AP courses have an equal opportunity to take the examination.

As of the 2009 testing season, exams cost $86 each, though the cost may be subsidized by local or state programs. Financial aid is available for students who qualify for it; the exam reduction is $22 per exam from College Board plus an additional $8 rebate per fee-reduced exam from the school. There may be further reductions depending on the state. Out of the $86, $8 goes directly to the school to pay for the administration of the test, which some schools will reduce to lower the cost to the student.

On April 3, 2008, the College Board announced that four AP courses - French Literature, Latin Literature, Computer Science AB, and Italian Language and Culture - will be discontinued after the 2008-2009 school year due to lack of funding.


AP tests are scored differently from the A-F grading scale common in the United Statesmarker. They are scored on a numeric scale, 1 to 5. As of 2007, the test that test-takers scored the lowest on by percentage was AP United States Government and Politics and the highest was AP Chinese Language and Culture.

Grading the AP is a long and complicated process. The multiple choice component of the exam is scored by computer, while the free response and essay portions are scored by trained Readers at the AP Reading each June. The scores on various components are weighted and combined into a Composite Score, which is a raw score. The Chief Reader for each exam then decides on the grade cutoffs for that year's administration of the exam. The raw Composite Scores are converted into a grade based on these cutoffs. During the process a number of reviews and statistical analyses are performed to ensure that the grading is reliable. The overall goal is to have an absolute scale of grading that will allow schools and colleges to compare the results from year to year.

These scorings are used by some colleges to exempt students from introductory coursework if they demonstrate mastery through an AP test. Each college's policy is different (see link below), but most accept scores of 4 or 5, and some accept scores of 3. Typically this is credited with a "CR" grade on the college transcript although some colleges and universities will award an A grade for a 5 score.

Exam subsidies

Recognizing that the cost could be an impediment to students of limited means, a number of states and municipalities independent of the College Board have partially or fully subsidized the cost. For example, the State of Florida reimburses schools districts for the exam costs of students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses. The Los Angeles Unified School District, the Montebello Unified School District, the Hawaii Department of Education, and the Edmonds School District currently subsidize Advanced Placement fees of students who enroll in the free school lunch program. In addition some school districts offer free tests to all students enrolled in any Advanced Placement class.

See also

Notes and References

14. supplies complete instructional support materials, mentoring teacher access by email and student books for instructors new to an assignment15. McCauley, David. 2007. The Impact of Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment Programs on College Graduation.

16. Applied Research Project. Texas State University.

17. Schneider, Jack. 2008. Schools' Unrest Over the AP Test

External links

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