New data from the College Board showcase Illinois’ commitment to closing equity gaps in rigorous high school courses
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The College Board has released data on the participation and performance of the graduating class of 2016 on Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Illinois continues to report record numbers of graduates both taking and excelling on AP exams, with Joliet Township High School District 204 receiving the prestigious District of the Year award for its outstanding performance among all small-sized school districts in the United States and Canada.
“AP exams have a proven track record of giving students a valuable head start in their college coursework and can save students time and money toward earning their college degrees,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “Equity in Illinois means all students have the opportunity to learn at high levels and demonstrate their academic capacity. Congratulations to Joliet Township High School District 204 Superintendent Dr. Cheryl McCarthy and all of the dedicated teachers and hardworking students who came together to achieve such remarkable gains.”
Highlights from the College Board data for Illinois’ graduating class of 2016 include:
- Illinois ranks 10th among all states in the country for the percentage of the statewide graduating class of 2016 scoring a 3 or higher on an AP exam during high school.
- The percentage of graduates who took an AP exam during high school has grown from 20.2 percent of the graduating class of 2006 to 37.5 percent of the graduating class of 2016.
- As the number of students taking AP tests has grown, so has the number of students excelling on AP tests. Illinois ranks fourth in the nation for the growth in the percentage of graduates earning a 3 or higher on an AP exam during high school. Illinois’ percentage has grown by 10.8 points over the past 10 years from 14.3 percent of the graduating class of 2016 to 25.1 percent of the graduating class of 2016.
- Twenty-one Illinois school districts made the prestigious AP District Honor Roll for increasing access to AP coursework while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP exams. View the full AP District Honor Roll list.
- Fifteen of Illinois’ AP Honor Roll districts have made the Honor Roll for multiple years.
- The College Board named Joliet Township High School District 204 the College Board Advanced Placement District of the Year among small-sized school districts based on an analysis of three academic years of AP data. The College Board chose three AP Districts of the Year — one for each category of district population size: small, defined as having fewer than 8,000 students; medium; and large — out of the 433 school districts across the United States and Canada on the annual AP District Honor Roll.
· Joliet Township High School District 204 increased its percentage of traditionally underrepresented AP students earning a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam by 7 percent annually — an increase of 83 students since 2014. Fifty-five percent or more of the AP students in the district are American Indian, African American, Hispanic/Latino, or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander; 42 percent or more of the AP students in the district qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.
“At Joliet Township High School, we have the philosophy that Advanced Placement classes are for all of our students, not just our honors or highest achieving students,” said Dr. McCarthy, the Joliet superintendent. “We work closely with our sender school districts and our teachers to identify students who have the potential to experience success in an AP class. With the guidance of our Strategic Plan, Joliet Township High School has made a concentrated effort to increase the number of students enrolled in AP classes through the implementation of the SpringBoard curriculum and by providing AP Academic Camps during the summer and support throughout the school year. I believe that this mindset, along with the support we provide, are key contributors to our Advanced Placement gains.”
Illinois leads the nation in efforts to eliminate gaps for low-income students and students of color in the most rigorous high school courses. The Illinois State Board of Education at its December 2016 meeting approved an agreement with the College Board to maintain the cost of taking AP tests at $15 per exam for low-income students, compared to the normal test fee of $93, for the May 2017 test administration.
Illinois became the first state in the nation to partner with the Lead Higher Initiative, committing to a statewide challenge to close equity gaps for low-income students and students of color in AP, International Baccalaureate, and dual-enrollment courses.