The Iowa Department of Education says preliminary data shows more Iowa students are taking the advanced placement (A-P) college-level courses, and getting higher scores. Elaine Watkins-Miller is the spokesperson for the department. Watkins-Miller says 7,127 students took at least one A-P test, a nearly eight percent increase over last year.
The maximum score on the tests is five, and she says approximately 70-percent of Iowa students scored a three or higher on the courses. Nationally, 60-percent of the tests taken had a score of three or higher. The recent release of the A-C-T college entrance exam scores included a call for Iowa students to take tougher courses to prepare them for college.
Watkins-Miller says the A-P results are an indication that’s starting to happen. She says it’s a goal in Iowa to offer more "rigorous" courses, and the A-P courses offer that. Many colleges grant credit or advanced placement to students with high A-P exam scores. Watkins-Miller doesn’t yet have the numbers high schools offering the A-P courses in the last year, but did have numbers from two years ago.
Watkins-Miller says during the 2005-2006 school year, 195 of the 365 districts offered at least one A-P course with at least 15-thousand students enrolled in at least one A-P course. Watkins-Miller says A-P courses are also available on-line through a program at the University of Iowa. The College Board’s full report on 2007 A-P courses and testing will be released in 2008.