Research has indicated that a rigorous high school curriculum is a strong predictor of college success. One way of delivering rigor is through providing college level courses to high school students.
The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP ®) is an exam program consisting of 33 exams in five subject areas that typically correspond to single-semester courses, but some correspond to full-year or two-year courses. CLEP exams offer students the opportunity to receive college course credit for learning that has already occurred outside of the traditional college classroom. The current research provides a necessary step in understanding the relationship between receiving course credit via exam scores and important postsecondary outcomes by examining whether differences exist between CLEP and non-CLEP students on postsecondary performance outcomes. The study examined data for matched samples of CLEP and non-CLEP students from a large, diverse state in the southeastern United States. Overall, CLEP students graduate sooner, enroll in fewer semesters, graduate with fewer credits, and have GPAs higher than non-CLEP students, when controlling for demographics and prior achievement. Generally, the differences between CLEP and non-CLEP students were more pronounced for students receiving associate degrees than for students receiving bachelor’s degrees. CLEP students also tended to perform better than non-CLEP students in subsequent English courses. There were no differences for subsequent math course performance.
The continued accumulation of validity evidence for the intended uses of educational assessments is critical to ensure that proper inferences will be made for those purposes. To that end, the College Board has continued to collect college outcome data to evaluate the relationship between SAT® scores and college success. This report provides updated validity evidence for using the SAT to predict first-year college grade point average (FYGPA) for the 2011 cohort.
Presented at the Advanced Placement Annual Conference (APAC) in Las Vegas, NV in July 2013. This presentation reviews new research examining the AP® experience of Hispanic graduates over the past decade. Topics include an in-depth look at the AP Spanish Language and Culture gateway hypothesis and trends in family characteristics such as parent education, income, and language background. In addition, this presentation reviews recent changes to race and ethnicity data collection and reporting and the implications for analyzing and interpreting AP data trends as schools, districts, and states work to close equity gaps in AP participation and performance.
This annotated bibliography contains summaries of research studies examining a number of College Board assessments and programs. To be included in the bibliography, each study needed to meet a number of criteria. First, articles must have been published (as a College Board research report, in an external journal, or as an ETS research report). Conference presentations or proceedings were not included because these materials often do not undergo as much scientific scrutiny as fully published papers. Also, the articles must represent research as either a validity study or an impact/evaluation study. All SAT® studies must have used samples from 2005 or later to account for the new test design, and Advanced Placement Program ® (AP ®) studies should have been published in the last 20 years. All studies are grouped by assessment/program, and key findings that represent a synthesis across the studies are presented. Key findings refer to results of the most rigorous work to date regarding the College Board program in question.
The present study investigates how current college students perceive their experiences in high school Advanced Placement Program (AP) courses. The goal of this research was twofold: We wanted to not only add to the existing literature on outcomes for AP students but also investigate possible benefits for students without success (i.e., a score of 3 or higher) on at least one AP Exam. For the purposes of this research, the College Board Advanced Placement Program partnered with a large public university in the southwestern United States. In April 2012, freshmen and sophomores who had taken at least one AP course in high school were recruited via the university’s email system. Participants (n = 128) completed an online survey that included closed- and open-ended items. About two-thirds of participants reported taking an AP Exam for each of their AP courses. Although three-quarters of participants reported scoring a 1 or 2 on one or more exams, only a small subset (n = 16) did not have AP Exam success; one participant had never taken an AP Exam, and 15 participants had never scored higher than a 2 on an AP Exam. Participants on the whole tended to report that their AP courses were of high quality, challenging, and ultimately beneficial in terms of improving specific skills (including writing, test taking, revising work based on feedback, balancing study time with competing demands, and analyzing the strengths and flaws of different points of view) and giving them the confidence to believe that they could do well in college. Participants were largely in agreement that their AP teachers were passionate about their subject areas and had high expectations for their students. The importance of students’ AP teachers was also reflected in many open-ended responses: Teaching quality reportedly affected not only how much students enjoyed the experience but also how much they benefited from each of their AP courses. Students without AP Exam success tended to report positive AP course experiences and a range of benefits attributed to their AP courses. Their responses were very similar to those of students with AP Exam success; only a few small differences were noted. Given the small number of participants in this study, particularly when focusing on those without AP Exam success, further research is recommended with a larger sample.
In recent decades, there has been an increasing emphasis placed on college graduation rates and reducing attrition due to the social and economic benefits, at both the individual and national levels, proposed to accrue from a more highly educated population (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011). In the United States in particular, there is a concern that declining college graduation rates relative to the rest of the world’s population will reduce economic competitiveness (Callan, 2008). As such, in addition to research on how to increase educational performance in elementary and secondary schools, educational researchers are also interested in the determinants of performance and persistence at the collegiate level. One method hypothesized to promote increased college graduation rates is to raise the standards in the nation’s high schools in order to better prepare students for college. Indeed, data from many converging sources suggests high school graduates are not prepared for higher-level college curriculum (Achieve, 2005). As such, many state institutions have attempted to set standards for rigor in order to ensure students are prepared for college study. Against this backdrop, the College Board has recently developed a measure of academic rigor, termed the Academic Rigor Index (ARI), for the purpose of examining how well a student is prepared for college study both within and across broad content domains (Wiley, Wyatt, & Camara, 2010). The ARI awards 0 to 5 points in each of five areas (English, mathematics, science, social science/history, and foreign/classical languages) based on students’ self-reported course-taking and sums these to create an overall index on a 0–25-point scale. The 25 credited activities are drawn from a larger set of course-taking variables. Each individual credited activity’s inclusion in the index is empirically supported by links to subsequent collegiate performance. The decisions to award an equal number of possible points in each of the five areas, and to weight each area equally in computing the total score, were not empirically based, and thus the degree to which relaxing the equal point per area and equal weight per area constraints could improve the predictive power of the ARI is not known. The purpose of the present paper is to compare the ARI with alternative scoring procedures that remove these constraints.
In this report, we examine the impact of scoring a 1 or 2 on an AP Exam in 10th grade on later AP Exam participation and performance. As access to AP courses increases within and across schools, a growing number of students are taking AP courses and exams in the earlier grades of high school. Using a matched sample of AP and no-AP students, this study explored the following research questions for seven AP Exams: Are students who receive a 1 or 2 on an AP Exam in the 10th grade more likely to take an exam in subsequent grades than students who did not take any exams in 9th or 10th grade? Are these students more likely to pass a later exam than students who did not take any exams in the 9th or 10th grade? Results showed that regardless of AP Exam subject, 10th-graders who scored a 1 or 2 were significantly more likely to take an AP Exam later in high school than comparable students who did not take an early AP Exam. However, the seven exams yielded different results in the likelihood of students scoring 3 or higher on an AP Exam in the 11th or 12th grade.
In this session presented at the Middle States Regional Forum (February 2013), experts working with national data presented trends in higher education from a forward-looking perspective. Senior researchers from the College Board provided trends using SAT, AP, and Net Price Calculator data. The research director of the National Student Clearinghouse offered new insight into the trends in enrollment and persistence of transfer students. Finally, the director of the Center for Higher Education Management Systems Information Center provided information from national data systems to help higher education policymakers and analysts understand the return on investment in higher education and potential for gainful employment.