Home Career The College Board no longer discloses AP test scores by ethnicity, state

The College Board no longer discloses AP test scores by ethnicity, state


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The College Board annually published a detailed breakdown of students’ scores on Advanced Placement, or AP, exams. And John Beckenstedt, associate provost for enrollment management at Oregon State University, painstakingly downloaded each dataset to convert it into a more accessible format in his reception blog.

The testing provider’s reports are an in-depth look at assessments that can earn K-12 students college credit if they score high enough.

The College Board would share information about how high school students did on tests, as well as demographic data, so any member of the public could see how students did — by ethnicity. These summaries were so detailed that one could look at, for example, the average score of black students on the AP Biology test for any given year.

That was until 2021, when the College Board stopped publishing most of that data. It still is places the number of students who was tested and how many exam scores they scored on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score. But the public could no longer sort test results by ethnicity.

Higher Ed Dive could find no evidence that the College Board announced the change. It seems to have cleared this type of data as well from the archives of his site.

It was a notable absence of Bockenstedt, one of the most prolific pros to enter Twitter. In February, he called the College Board on a social media platformcalling on her followers to tell the company to re-publish the data and claiming that taking it back is not in line with her professed a commitment to transparency.

He repeated his call this week like the college board began to share top-level information about 2022 AP scores.

The College Board has come under fire for selling products like the AP and SAT tests that critics perceive as disadvantaging marginalized groups in higher education. Underrepresented students, such as Hispanic and black students, scored lower overall on AP exams compared to their white peers, according to data from previous years. Testing provider said The SAT is not a racist instrument.

The College Board, in an emailed statement, did not mention why it removed the demographic data. It says it is providing this information to schools, districts and state departments of education and that it has already sent it to the first two groups.

Researchers can too request AP details online– informed the college council.

AP background

The history of AP exams has its roots in the 1950s, when there was concern that American students were underprepared for college. A study conducted at the time by three elite high schools, as well as Harvard, Princeton and Yale universities, recommended that students do college work in high school.

Shortly thereafter, high-level courses were piloted in about a dozen subjects, and the College Board took over what would be known as the Advanced Placement program.

In the following decades, AP exploded in the US, especially in the last 10 years. About 1.2 million students in the class of 2021 passed at least one AP exam, compared to approximately 898,000 in the class of 2011. Approximately 2.5 million students, not only high school students, took AP tests in 2021slightly lower than the previous year, although this is probably due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The states adopted the estimates. As of fall 2021, 32 states have adopted an AP policy that generally requires all public institutions to award credit to students who score 3 or higher on the tests.

The last decade or so has also been defined by a push to expand access to the exams, particularly for disadvantaged students. The College Board often advertises initiatives like reducing the test fee and government funding which helps subsidize students. The cost of AP exams is considered a barrier to taking them. Every test has a cost $96 for US and Canadian students.

However, increasing the number of students taking the test over time does not mean that enrollment in AP courses is fair.

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