Access to and participation in a high-quality, rigorous school curricula is critical to each student’s long-term success.
In recent years, due to focused efforts by districts and states, enrollment in advanced courses, including Pre-AP and AP, International Baccalaureate (IB) and/or dual college enrollment courses, has grown throughout the United States. However, there remain many students, especially African American and Hispanic students, who could be enrolled in these courses, but are not (widely noted, e.g., in the U.S. Department of Education’s Condition of Education 2007 report). Moreover, significant gaps in achievement in advanced coursework exist among these students, as measured by Advanced Placement (AP) exams. This is important because taking advanced coursework in middle and high school has been linked to many positive outcomes in terms of postsecondary and workplace success. It is imperative that potential high achievers be identified early and placed in academically rigorous courses.
Measures commonly used to identify these students include, but are not limited to, advanced scores on state standardized tests or high scores on national tests such as the PSAT, SAT, ACT, and so forth. Once students are identified, educators need a way to track advanced course enrollment and performance in order to monitor both the success of individual students as well as the success of programs implemented at the campus or district levels. Using enrollment data, course listings, class grades, and advanced placement exam scores, educators can track how well a school or district is doing in offering, enrolling, and helping students’ master advanced coursework. Although getting to college is a critical goal, the real goal is college completion, and a school curriculum of high academic intensity has the greatest impact on that goal (Adelman, 1999).
The following metrics are documented in this section: