Advanced Placement Participation, Staffing, and Staff Training in the District of Columbia Public Schools
- Three of the four high schools that adopted a mandate on AP course enrollment during the study period had higher AP exam taking and passing rates after the mandate went into place. However, passing rates were generally still low in schools mandating AP course enrollment.
- Fewer than one-fifth of AP teachers participated in the APSI at least once every three years.
- Among AP teachers with a college major on record, about half had a college major aligned with the AP course they taught (for example, an AP biology teacher who majored in biology), and 70 percent had a college major aligned with the broader subject area of the AP course they taught (for example, an AP biology teacher who majored in a science other than biology).
During the past decade, the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) has sought to expand participation in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and several DCPS high schools require all students to take one or more AP courses. To promote quality instruction in AP courses, DCPS recommends regular teacher participation in the Advanced Placement Summer Institute (APSI) and is considering recommending that college major be factored into teacher assignments to AP courses.
To better understand these policies and recommendations, REL Mid-Atlantic examined student AP exam taking and passing rates in schools that mandate AP course enrollment and in schools that do not, teacher participation in the APSI, and the alignment of teachers’ college major and its broader subject area with the AP courses they teach.
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