Advanced Placement Access and Success: How Do Rural Schools Stack Up?

Advanced Placement Access and Success: How Do Rural Schools Stack Up?

The gap in AP exam participation rates between rural students and their urban and suburban peers has narrowed over the past fifteen years, a report from the College Board and Education Commission of the States finds. The report, Advanced Placement Access and Success: How Do Rural Schools Stack Up? (12 pages, PDF), found that the percentage of rural students who took at least one AP exam in high school has increased from 10 percent in 2001 to 23 percent in 2015. Over the same period, the percentage of rural high school seniors who had access to at least one AP course increased from 56 percent to 73 percent, while the percentage of those with access to at least one AP course in STEM subjects rose from 42 percent to 62 percent. At the same time, AP access rates for rural students remained significantly lower than for students in urban and suburban schools, where the overall rate is above 90 percent. The study also found that even as participation rates increased, the percentage of rural students earning a score of 3 or higher on an AP exam remained steady at 53 percent. To address those disparities, the report calls on states to implement policies and provide financial support aimed at increasing AP access in rural schools, including funds for securing the technology needed to access virtual AP courses.