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Equity and Excellence in the College Board Advanced Placement Program


by William Lichten — January 16, 2007

This paper uses college standards to evaluate the advanced placement (AP) program. The College Board’s claim that a score of 3 “qualifies” disagrees with the facts of college acceptance. The pass rate has dropped from 51 percent in 1998 to 39 percent in 2006. More telling is the incremental pass rate of 29 percent, which reflects the changes over the 1998-2006 period. By objective measure, the expansion of AP courses into inner city schools has failed: African American and Mexican American (AP Spanish excepted) minorities have an incremental pass rate near 10 percent. These shortcomings, which contradict the claim that AP is “for everyone,” call for a reform of AP admissions policy.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: January 16, 2007
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12928, Date Accessed: 12/12/2017 9:15:12 AM

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About the Author
  • William Lichten
    Yale University
    WILLIAM LICHTEN is a retired Yale Professor of Physics. His educational activities include outreach in local high schools, serving on university committees for college and graduate admissions, for curriculum, and for teacher preparation. He has conducted research and published in the fields of physical, psychological and educational measurement.
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