Alabama schools have made big gains in the number of students taking advanced placement classes and the number of students doing well enough on AP exams to exempt college classes. Progress in the Dothan City Schools has exceeded the statewide trend.
According to the Alabama Department of Education, the number of graduates who took an AP course in high school has increased by 218 percent over the past 10 years. The number of students scoring a grade of 3 or better, which usually allows them to exempt the college class related to the AP course, has also grown, increasing from 4.8 percent in 2002 to 11.1 percent in 2012.
The Dothan City Schools has also experienced strong growth in AP participation and results. In the 2009-2010 school year, 151 city schools high school students took AP courses. For 2011-2012, 397 did. In 2011-2012, 101 students – or about a quarter of the students who took the tests - scored a 3 or better on the AP exams.
Allyson Morgan, secondary curriculum director for the Dothan City Schools, said the school system has actively recruited more students to take AP courses. Morgan said the system has worked to include hard-working average students along with the academically gifted students who have traditionally made up the bulk of AP students.
Morgan said even students who don’t score well enough on AP exams to get college credit for courses benefit from the program, as it exposes them to higher level work they’ll experience in college.
Morgan said Alabama schools have received grants to increase access to AP courses. Morgan said the grants have provided helpful training to teachers.