CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced that more than 20,700 students took at least one Advanced Placement (AP) exam last year, an increase of more than 4 percent from the previous year. Since 2011, CPS student participation in AP college-level coursework has increased by 31 percent, while the number of students earning a passing score—at least a 3 or higher—on at least one AP exam has increased over 61 percent. The pass rate for the exam has increased among all ethnic groups, including among African-American and Latino students.
CPS is among just 14 school districts in the country and is the only district of its size to be lauded on the College Board Honor Roll for:
- 30 percent or greater enrollment in AP classes of American Indians, African-Americans and Latino students;
- 30 percent or greater enrollment of low-income students; and
- Achieving this distinction for multiple years.
“AP coursework sets students up for success in college and their careers, so I am proud that Chicago's students continue to make gains when it comes to participating and succeeding in this important part of their high school studies," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “By passing the AP exam, Chicago's students receive credits that count toward any public college or university in Illinois, helping to reduce their financial burden while increasing their chances for a brighter future."
AP exams allow students to pursue college level coursework while still in high school. Research demonstrates that students who succeed on AP exams are more likely to graduate college on time, and have the potential to save time and money through placement and credit-granting policies.
“Under Mayor Emanuel's leadership, Chicago Public Schools continues to deliver more opportunities to Chicago students through both access and success in Advanced Placement courses. It is great news that this year more Chicago students will receive the college credits they earned as a result of their hard work in AP,” said Greg Walker, VP, College Board Midwestern Regional Office. “College Board is pleased to continue partnering with the Mayor, educational leaders and teachers in Chicago, whose focus and energy is devoted to ensuring that all students with potential will have access to challenging coursework in every high school in Chicago.”
Over the past four years, CPS’ students’ overall pass rate on AP exams has increased by 8 percent, with a 6.5 percent increase and 8.2 percent increase in the passing rate for African-American and Latino students respectively.
“These AP results are yet another sign that the arrow is pointed up for Chicago’s students,” CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “CPS offers AP classes so we can give our students the opportunity to experience the academic rigors of college in a supportive high school environment and build the confidence they need to see themselves succeeding in college.”
This is CPS’ third consecutive year to be included on the College Board’s Advanced Placement District Honor Roll. Inclusion on the 6th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on the examination of three years of AP data, from 2013 to 2015, looking across 34 AP Exams, including world language and culture. To be included, CPS had to meet the following criteria:
- Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent;
- Increase or maintain the percentage of exams taken by black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students; and
- Improve or maintain performance levels when comparing the 2015 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2013 percentage.
When participation in AP coursework is combined with college coursework opportunities offered by the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), more than one in five CPS students are participating in college-level coursework. This collaboration between CCC and CPS is designed to give college-ready high school juniors and seniors exposure to college-level courses, as well as the confidence to succeed in more academically challenging environments, and the opportunity to earn credits toward a college degree.
This year, more than 60 schools across the District partnered with CCC to offer dual-credit or dual-enrollment, which will provide students citywide the opportunity to participate in over 6,000 college classes before graduation, increasing opportunities more than 900 percent since Mayor Emanuel took office.
In 2015, 34,632 AP exams were administered across the District. In total, AP offers 36 different courses, and the District offers all of these across 126 high schools – an addition of 9 more schools offering AP courses since 2014. The most popular courses are English Language, English Literature, U.S. History, Psychology, and Human Geography, accounting for roughly half of all AP exams taken in the District.
In addition to the access afforded by AP and dual-credit coursework with City Colleges, CPS has invested programs like IB and STEM that have been proven to prepare students for college and career success.
Chicago Public Schools serves 393,000 students in 660 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.