For the past decade, Advanced Placement (AP) course participation has doubled in the United States and more students are taking AP exams than ever before (College Board, 2012). Nevertheless, students passing the exams are more often Whites and Asians attending high performing suburban high schools than Blacks or Hispanics. Since 1997, national trends in college readiness as measured by AP exam performance reflected persistent academic achievement gaps between underserved Black and Hispanics and their White and Asian peers in virtually every state (Davis, Joyner & Slate, 2011; Holmes, 2012; Koch, 2012; Moore, Slate, & Martinez-Garcia, 2009). Additionally, gender differences in AP test taking patterns and success rates have remained consistent (Holmes, 2012; Moore & Slate, 2011; Moore, Combs, & Slate, 2010).
During this time, AP expansion initiatives increased participation in AP courses and funneled revenues to College Board; however, overall success rates on AP exams dramatically decreased for Black and Hispanic students and increased only for Asian students. Although policymakers are funding increased amounts of public monies on AP expansion, national trends for the past 16 years indicate that Black females are falling farther behind and Asian males are benefitting the most when measured by AP exam success rates. In this national, multi-year study, we concluded that affordable open access to more AP courses and exams may not overcome poor quality schools and prior academic preparation to increase prediction of college readiness for all students (College Board, 2013). More importantly, the value gap between AP expenditures and student success has expanded when measured by the average scores needed to earn college credit.
Unintended Value Gap
Increased spending and decreased exam performance rates indicate an unintended value gap for disadvantaged students, particularly Black and Hispanic students who lack early academic preparation and social and emotional skills needed for college success. Just participating in AP courses may not be a cost effective strategy for insuring that all students will enter college with the tools needed for success. In a recent analysis of national trends in AP exam performance rates, Holmes (2012) demonstrated that increased spending over 16 years to push more students to take AP exams did not result in increased success rates for all students, rather results are consistent with other studies by Koch (2012) and Davis et. al. (2011) that significant ethnic and gender differences in achievement gaps on AP exams remain persistent.
Consequently, the college readiness predictive value of AP exams is best understood by investigating gender and ethnic differences in test taking patterns. As such, simply increasing enrollment in more AP courses at the expense of additional public funding may lead to a significant value gap in return on cost for the AP expansion programs advocated by College Board researchers and supporters (Sadler, Sonnert, Tai, & Klopfenstein, 2010. Rather than taking more AP courses earlier in high school, student success on AP exams is more often related to the advantages of high quality schools, social and emotional skills, and economic status, which leaves disadvantaged and ethnically diverse students under-prepared to perform as well as their White and Asian counterparts. Even the College Board (2007) itself acknowledged that differences in AP exam taking patterns across gender and ethnic identities have persisted and these two demographic measurers should be considered when evaluating the validity of AP exam scores. More importantly, prior academic achievement measures such as PSAT scores and high school grades are related to AP exam performance, in addition to academic interests and opportunity to openly participate in high quality AP courses (College Board, 2007, 2013), all of which must be considered to evaluate the cost value of the AP expansion movement.
Analysis of AP Cost Effectiveness Ratios
We focused on cost effectiveness ratios for AP exam performance as a function of gender and ethnicity for each test administration from 1997 through 2012. To calculate the ratio, the cost of $87 for taking an AP exam (Lewin, 2012) was multiplied by the total number of students who earned each score from 1997 through 2012 (Koch, 2012). The total cost for failing scores of 1 and 2 was subtracted from the total cost for qualifying scores of 3, 4, and 5. This difference was divided by the total cost for test fees from students in each ethnic group. The cost effectiveness ratio for passing and failing scores is relevant because the score of 3 is the minimum score accepted by most universities for college credit (Klopfenstein, 2004a; Moore & Slate, 2010). A positive ratio indicated that more students achieved a passing score and were eligible to receive advanced placement or college credit. A negative ratio indicated that more students failed to earn advanced placement exam score necessary for college credit.
Displayed in Table 1, Asians earned the only positive cost effectiveness ratio, while Whites demonstrated a minimal decrease. In particular, the positive ratio for Asians ranged from 0.39 in 1997 to 0.42 in 2012 and for Whites the ratio ranged slightly from 0.35 in 1997 to 0.34 in 2012. In contrast, for all 16 years, Blacks had increasingly negative ratios, ranging from -0.32 in 1997 to -0.48 in 2012. Hispanics were the only ethnic group that experienced a positive ratio from 1997 through 2001 and then experienced a negative ratio for the remaining years from 2002 to 2012. The ratio for Hispanics decreased from 0.19 in 1997 to -0.21 in 2012. An important finding of this study is that negative cost effectiveness ratios escalated significantly for Blacks and Hispanics over 16 years of data. Figure 1 is a graphical representation comparing the positive and negative cost effectiveness ratio trends for each group for years 1997 through 2012.
Displayed in Table 2 is a comparison of the cost effectiveness ratios for female students in each ethnic group for 16 years. A positive ratio indicated that more female students achieved a passing score and were eligible to receive advanced placement or college credit. A negative ratio indicated that more female students failed to earn advanced placement or college credit based on their exam scores. From 1997 to 2012, the cost effectiveness ratio was positive for Asian and White female students who took AP exams. In particular, the positive ratio for Asian female students ranged from 0.35 in 1997 to 0.37 in 2012. The positive ratio for White female students decreased slightly from 0.30 in 1997 to 0.27 in 2012. In contrast, for all 16 years Black female students had a negative cost effectiveness ratio that grew larger each year, ranging from -0.36 in 1997 to -0.51 in 2012. Hispanic female students were the only ethnic group that experienced a positive ratio from 1997 to 1999 and then experienced a negative ratio for the remaining years from 2000 to 2012. Overall, the cost effectiveness trend is negative for Black and Hispanic female students and positive for Asian and White female students. Readers should note that only Asian female students increased their positive cost effectiveness ratio trend in 2012, and all other female students experienced a downward trend in their cost effectiveness ratios.
The cost effectiveness ratio trends for female students in each ethnic group are displayed in Figure 2. The graphical representation demonstrates an increasingly positive ratio for Asian female students for all 16 years, ranging from 0.35 in 1997 to 0.37 in 2012. White female students also had a positive ratio; however, the ratio decreased beginning with the 2002 test administration and varied from .0.30 in 1997 to 0.27 in 2012. For all 16 years, Black female students had an increasingly negative cost effectiveness ratio, ranging from -0.36 in 1997 to -0.51 in 2012. Hispanic students were the only group that had a positive ratio for years 1997, 1998, 1999, and then had a negative ratio for the remaining years from 2000 to 2012.
Displayed in Table 3, the comparison of the cost effectiveness ratios for male students in each ethnic group illustrates the passing and failing performance on AP exams for 16 years of data. A positive ratio indicates that more male students achieved a passing score and were eligible to receive advanced placement or college credit. A negative ratio indicates that more male students failed to earn advanced placement or college credit based on their exam scores. For 1997 to 2012, the cost effectiveness ratio was positive for Asian and White male students who took AP exams. In particular, the positive ratio for Asian male students ranged from 0.42 in 1997 to 0.48 in 2012. The positive ratio for White male students increased slightly from 0.41 in 1997 to 0.42 in 2012. In contrast, for all 16 years Black male students had an increasing negative cost effectiveness ratio, ranging from -0.26 in 1997 to -0.43 in 2012. Hispanic male students were the only ethnic group that experienced a positive ratio from 1997 to 2001 and then experienced a negative ratio for the remaining years from 2002 to 2012. Overall, the cost effectiveness trends were negative for Black and Hispanic male students and positive for Asian and White male students for the 16 years analyzed.
The cost effectiveness ratio for male students for each ethnic group is portrayed in Figure 3. The graphical representation demonstrates a positive trend in cost effectiveness ratio for Asian male students ranging from 0.37 in 2001 to 0.48 in 2012. White male students also demonstrated a positive ratio for all 16 years. Regarding Black male students, a negative trend in cost effectiveness ratio ranged from -0.26 in 1997 to -0.43 in 2012. Hispanic male students were the only group that demonstrated a positive ratio for years 1997 to 2001 and a negative ratio for the remaining years from 2000 to 2012.
Table 4 contains the number of Asian students who achieved passing and failing scores and the corresponding costs of the AP exams for all 16 years. The positive trend in cost benefits for Asian students is demonstrated by the consistent AP performance as measured by passing scores. In 1997, the cost for exams by Asian students who passed and were successful was two times more than the cost for Asian students who earned failing scores. This positive trend continued to 2012, and Asian students were two times more likely to earn passing scores than failing scores.
Figure 4 provides a graphical representation of the number of Asian students who earned passing and failing scores and the corresponding costs of the AP exams for all 16 years. Also illustrated is the positive trend in cost benefits for Asian students who achieved passing scores as compared to Asian students who earned failing scores for years 1997 to 2012. In 1997, Asian students were two times more likely to achieve passing scores than to earn failing scores; however, by 2012, the positive trend increased markedly, and Asian students were three times more likely to earn passing scores than failing scores.
Table 5 includes the number of Black students who achieved passing and failing scores and the corresponding costs of the AP exams for all 16 years. The negative trend in cost for Black students is demonstrated by the consistent AP performance as measured by passing and failing scores. In 1997, the cost for exams by Black students who failed and were unsuccessful was almost two times more than the cost for Black students who earned passing scores. This negative trend continued through all 16 years, and the cost for Black students who earned failing scores was two times more than Black students who achieved passing scores, thus spending on unsuccessful performance outcomes increased to $14,970,438 in 2012.
Figure 5 provides a graphical representation of the number of Black students who earned passing and failing scores and the corresponding costs of the AP exams for all 16 years. Also illustrated is the negative trend in cost for Black students who achieved passing scores as compared to cost for Black students who earned failing scores for years 1997 to 2012. In 1997, Black students were two times more likely to achieve failing scores than to earn passing scores; however, by 2012, the negative trend increased markedly, and Black students were three times more likely to earn failing scores than passing scores. The negative trend in cost effectiveness ratios each year demonstrated the increase in millions of dollars wasted due to large numbers of Black students failing to achieve exam scores eligible for advanced placement or college credit.
Table 6 includes the number of Hispanic students who achieved passing and failing scores and the corresponding costs of the AP exams for all 16 years. The negative trend in cost for Hispanic students is demonstrated by the overall AP performance as measured by passing and failing scores. In 1997, the cost for exams by Hispanic students who failed and were unsuccessful was less than the cost for Hispanic students who earned passing scores. In 2001, the cost for failing scores exceeded the cost for passing scores, and this negative trend continued for 12 years, resulting in expenditures on unsuccessful performance outcomes in the amount of to $13,968,633 for the 2012 test administration.
Figure 6 provides a graphical representation of the number of Hispanic students who earned passing and failing scores and the corresponding costs of the AP exams for all 16 years. Also illustrated is the negative trend in cost for Hispanic students who achieved passing scores as compared to cost for Hispanic students who earned failing scores for years 1997 to 2012. In 1997, Hispanic students were more likely to achieve passing scores than to earn failing scores; however, by 2012, the negative trend increased markedly, and Hispanic students were more likely to earn failing scores than passing scores. The negative trend in cost effectiveness ratios each year demonstrated the increase in millions of dollars wasted due to large numbers of Hispanic students failing to achieve exam scores eligible for advanced placement or college credit.
Table 7 contains the number of White students who achieved passing and failing scores and the corresponding costs of the AP exams for all 16 years. The positive trend in cost for White students is demonstrated by the overall AP performance as measured by passing and failing scores. In 1997, the cost for exams by White students who passed and were successful was two times more than the cost for White students who earned failing scores. This positive trend continued to 2012, and White students were almost two times more likely to earn passing scores than failing scores, thus spending less on unsuccessful performance outcomes than on successful performance outcomes.
Figure 7 provides a graphical representation of the number of White students who earned passing and failing scores and the corresponding costs of the AP exams for all 16 years. Also illustrated is the positive trend in cost for White students who achieved passing scores as compared to White students who earned failing scores for years 1997 to 2012. In 1997, White students were almost two times more likely to achieve passing scores than to earn failing scores. Moreover by 2012, the positive trend persisted, and White students were more than two times more likely to earn passing scores than failing scores.
Table 8 contains the cumulative number of students by ethnic group who achieved passing and failing scores and the corresponding costs of the AP exams for all 16 years. The positive and negative trends in cost for students in each ethnic group were demonstrated by the overall AP performance as measured by passing and failing scores. The cumulative cost for exams by Black students who were unsuccessful was almost three times more than the cost for Black students who earned passing scores, resulting in more exam fees directed toward unsuccessful performance outcomes than on successful performance outcomes. The cumulative cost for Hispanic students who earned failing scores was greater than for Hispanic students who earned passing scores. Hispanic students earned successful scores until 2001, when Hispanic students’ overall exam scores dropped below the score of 3 necessary to receive advanced placement or college credit. In contrast, the cumulative cost for exams by Asian and White students who passed and were successful was two times more than the cost for Asian and White students who earned failing scores.
Illustrated in Figure 8 is the cumulative cost for Asian students who earned passing scores compared to the cumulative cost for failing scores over 16 years. The cost for Asian students of $257,075,691 represented the cumulative expenditure for passing exams, an amount that was almost twice the $135,508,764 expenditure for failing scores. As explained earlier, the cost effectiveness ratios were positive because more Asian students earned passing scores and were successful on exams than Asian students who earned failing scores.
Depicted in Figure 9 is the cumulative cost for Black students who earned passing scores compared to the cumulative cost for failing scores over 16 years. The cost for Black students of $115,580,892 represented the cumulative expenditure for failing exam scores, an amount that was almost three times greater than the $46,897,872 expenditure for exams that resulted in passing scores. As explained earlier, the cost effectiveness ratios were negative because more Black students earned failing scores than Black students who earned passing scores.
Displayed in Figure 10 is the cumulative cost for Hispanic students who earned passing scores compared to the cumulative cost for failing scores over 16 years. The cost for Hispanic students of $97,809,489 represented the cumulative expenditure for failing exam scores, an amount that was much greater than the $74,622,075 expenditure for exams that resulted in passing scores. As explained earlier, the cost effectiveness ratios were negative because more Hispanic students earned failing scores than Hispanic students who earned passing scores.
Depicted in Figure 11 is the cumulative cost for White students who earned passing scores compared to the cumulative cost for failing scores over 16 years. The cost for White students of $1,136,510,493 represented the cumulative expenditure for passing exam scores, an amount that was three times greater than the $633,000,603 expenditure for exams that resulted in failing scores. As depicted earlier, the cost effectiveness ratios were positive because more White students earned passing scores and were successful on exams than White students who earned failing scores and were unsuccessful in achieving advanced placement or college credit.
National Trends in Cost Effectiveness Ratios
Researchers confirmed that costs associated with providing AP programs in schools increased during the last decade and several states initiated policies that allocate larger amounts of public funds to address these additional costs (Klopfenstein & Thomas, 2009; Koch, 2012). Additionally, some states use public funds to subsidize exam fees for disadvantaged students to take AP tests and encourage them to earn college credit (Klopfenstein & Thomas, 2009). In our study, students paid a fee to take AP exams, although these fees may be reduced or subsidized for low-income students based on need (Klopfenstein & Thomas, 2009). The cost in 2011 was $87 per student (Lewin, 2012). For 16 years of data, negative trends in cost effectiveness and escalating costs for failing scores were confirmed, particularly for Blacks with a cumulative cost of $115,580,892 for failing exam scores; almost triple the cost of $46,896,872 for Blacks with passing scores. Hispanics also underperformed overall and demonstrated a higher cost for failing scores of $97,809,489 as compared to $74,622,075 for passing scores over 16 years. Consequently, the negative trend in cost effectiveness ratios represented a considerable waste of financial resources.
Additional costs associated with AP expansion include training for teachers, expensive lab equipment, and specific textbooks for AP courses (Klopfenstein & Thomas, 2009). More research is needed to determine additional costs and benefits for students before policy makers mandate more public funding for AP expansion programs (Klopfenstein & Thomas, 2009). In this era of tight budgets, administrators may determine that AP expansion is a luxury that school districts with high concentrations of underprepared and disadvantaged students who need college preparatory programs more than accelerated college level courses cannot afford.
Decreased Performance Rates In Spite of Increased AP Participation
Evidence was provided in this investigation that the nationwide number of AP exam-takers more than doubled from 1997 to 2012. The proportion of non-White students taking the exam increased by 6 or 7 times between 1997 and 2012; however, AP performance rates dramatically declined for Black and Hispanic students. Significant gender differences in AP exam scores were discernible between Blacks and Hispanics and their Asian and White counterparts, and continuous negative trends for passing rates were tracked across 16 years. Even though more females take AP exams, a higher percentage of males in each ethnic group earned passing scores. One critical finding was that Black females consistently earned greater numbers of failing scores than passing scores compared to all other groups. Moreover, the trend line analysis indicated a steep decline in passing rates, particularly from 2002 to 2012, which corresponded with increased AP expansion programs and resulted in a negative trend in cost effectiveness ratios. Millions of dollars were poorly spent due to large numbers of Black and Hispanic students failing to achieve advanced placement or college credit.
AP Expansion Benefits Whites and Asians More than Others
In recent years, the effectiveness and equity of AP expansion programs have been questioned by educational leaders and policy makers (Klopfenstein & Thomas, 2010; Sadler & Tai, 2007). Researchers are concerned about the expenditure of public funds that subsidizes one particular college readiness strategy over other programs without empirical data that validates the effectiveness of AP programs (Dougherty, Mellon & Jian, 2006; Klopfenstein, 2010; Klopfenstein & Thomas, 2010; Moore & Slate, 2011; Sadler & Tai, 2007). Furthermore, because AP course- taking is a sorting process utilized by highly motivated, high achieving students, other students such as underserved populations, may not benefit from more AP program offerings (Dougherty et al., 2006; Sadler & Tai, 2007; Sadler, et al., 2010). Even though open access to AP exams elevated participation rates for all students, overall lower average exam scores for Black and Hispanics persisted, especially for Black females. Moreover, consistent achievement gaps between ethnic groups were evident despite the College Board’s recent addition of the Advanced Placement Incentive Program and the AP Potential programs intended to solve the widening gaps between low income, Black and Hispanic students from underperforming schools and their suburban, upper class, and highly motivated counterparts. This conclusion is supported by the findings in our study, even though few other research studies in the literature that used cost effectiveness ratio analysis to measure the value of mandating AP courses and exams for all students were available.
Conclusion
Ethnic and gender disparities in overall AP exam performance and national trends in cost effectiveness ratios for 16 years were investigated. Our analysis revealed that the significant increase of males and females in all ethnic groups demonstrated an escalation of AP programs throughout the United States. Although many more students are participating in AP courses and exams, the percentage of Blacks and Hispanics earning passing scores significantly declined each year. In contrast, the percentage of Asians achieving passing scores consistently increased and the percentage of Whites achieving passing scores slightly decreased. During the 16 years analyzed, Black females consistently demonstrated the lowest mean scores compared to all other students. Increasing expenditures and decreasing success rates resulted in an unintended value gap demonstrated by negative cost effectiveness ratios for Black and Hispanic students. The significance of these findings and their implications for policy and practice makes it necessary to reevaluate AP expansion funding mandates.
Our study represents a clear analysis of resources allocated toward Black and Hispanic students who are academically and socially underprepared to succeed on AP exams. Improvements in addressing the needs of those students who lack the cultural capital and social cognitive skills are necessary to increase college readiness. We concur that AP expansion is a positive strategy aimed at preparing American students for college-readiness; however, other college readiness strategies that enhance cultural and social deficiencies are imperative if larger numbers of Black and Hispanic students are to be successful in college and the workforce in the coming decade of extensive globalization of the world economy. Finally, by utilizing College Board’s vast national data set, we made available to policymakers and educational leaders information that they can use regarding education policy and practice.
Implications
Inherent in our findings are several policy implications for educational leaders both at the K-12 level and higher education level. These implications are substantial because, despite increased participation in AP expansion programs, achievement gaps still persist and have not improved significantly. One untended consequence of AP initiatives designed to target underserved students is that these same initiatives have benefited disproportionately more Asian and White students than Black and Hispanic students. Asian and White students continue to outperform Black and Hispanic students across all 16 years of test administrations. Moreover, a continuous negative trend in AP performance and cost effectiveness for Black and Hispanic students corresponded with AP expansion policy initiatives.
Through results of our research study, current efforts to reshape the national discourse surrounding equity and inclusion for all students, in particular, underserved high achieving students may be advanced. Important issues facing high achieving, at risk students are overlooked and resources and policy decisions are formulated without consideration for the gender and ethnic differences that compound to create educational barriers. Our research brings into focus the need for a comprehensive research agenda to develop, pilot test, and validate new instruments to measure, and new practices to improve, college readiness for the growing diversity in American public education. Clearly AP program expansion is not the single best answer for all high school students. As such, state and federal funding policy is misallocating scarce resources to a program that is clearly not effective. These scarce resources could be used to develop new models. Higher education researchers must renew efforts to focus on social, economic, and cultural strategies to release school leaders from the quick fix strategy of mandating that all students, whether prepared or not, embrace College Board’s AP program as the magic bullet for the college completion crisis in American education today.
Our research findings offer convincing evidence that gender and ethnic differences are clearly evident in achievement gaps and college readiness rates among U.S. high school students. More importantly, we verified at the national level, and for the first time, the presence of a consistent pattern of stair-step achievement gaps between and among ethnic groups over a 16-year time period. Despite open access and the increase in the number of students who are taking AP exams, the achievement gaps are growing wider each year. Furthermore, the notable evidence of a persistent stair-step achievement gap between and among ethnic groups across 16 years indicates the need for leadership initiatives at the local, state, and federal levels for additional college readiness reform strategies.
Although affordability and accessibility to AP exams has improved, equity issues remain for Black and Hispanic student populations. Open access, which is an excellent policy to invite students to enroll in AP courses and attend postsecondary institutions, does not create equity for a vast number of ethnically diverse students. Given that prior academic achievement is the most powerful predictor of college readiness, educational leaders and political proponents must focus on alternative methods (e.g., dual credit courses) for increasing college readiness for underserved populations. Advanced Placement expansion programs appear to have a limited effect on overall college readiness measured by AP exam performance. Realistically, the AP expansion reform movement provides increased opportunities for those students who need them least—those students who would likely succeed in college without additional AP experience.
Educational leaders and policy makers must recognize that funding resources should not be concentrated primarily on one college readiness strategy, such as open and free access to AP courses and exams. Rather, resources should be strategically allocated toward the academic needs of diverse students, particularly Black and Hispanic female students. School leaders and policy makers should rigorously investigate the interplay of both gender and ethnicity to analyze achievement gaps in college readiness skills.
Moreover, the implications of this research are important for theory and practice because expansion efforts to push more students into AP exams have resulted in millions of dollars that were poorly spent due to large numbers of Hispanics and Blacks, particularly females, who failed to qualify for advanced placement or college credit. Educational leaders at all levels must address systematic approaches that meet the social and emotional needs of underserved students and integrate innovative learning and teaching methods that align with college readiness skills, both outside and within the framework of AP courses and the current push for AP program expansion funding.
References
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College Board. (2012). Eighth annual AP report to the nation. Retrieved from https://apreport.collegeboard.org/ap-community/about-ap
College Board. (2013). Ninth annual AP report to the nation. Retrieved from https://research.collegeboard.org/programs/ap/data
Davis, C., Joyner, S. A., & Slate, J. R. (2011). Differences in Advanced Placement exam results for Black students across three states. eInternational Journal of Educational Research, 2, 87-102.
Dougherty, C., Mellor, L., & Jian, S. (2006). The relationship between Advanced Placement and college graduation (2005 AP study series, Report 1). Austin, TX: National Center for Educational Accountability.
Holmes, M. A. (2012). Ethnic and gender difference in Advanced Placement exam performance: A multiyear national analysis. Sam Houston State University (Doctoral dissertation. In Press).
Holmes, M. A., Joyner, S. A., & Slate, J. R. (2011). Gender differences in college preparatory courses in Texas high schools: Are girls more college-ready than boys? International Journal of University Teaching and Faculty, 18, 1-10.
Klopfenstein, K. (2004a). Advanced Placement: Do minorities have equal opportunity? Economics of Education Review, 23, 115-131.
Klopfenstein, K. (2004b). The Advanced Placement expansion of the 1990s: How did traditionally underserved students fare? Education Policy Analysis Archives, 12(68), 1-13.
Klopfenstein, K. (2010). Does the Advanced Placement program save taxpayers money? The effect of AP participation on time to college graduation. In P. M. Sadler, G. Sonnert, R. H. Tai, and K. Klopfenstein (Eds.), AP: A critical examination of the Advanced Placement program (pp. 189-218). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.
Klopfenstein, K., & Thomas, M. K. (2009). The link between Advanced Placement experience and early college success. The Southern Economic Journal, 75(3), 873-891.
Klopfenstein, K., & Thomas, M. K. (2010). Advanced Placement participation: Evaluating the policies of states and colleges. In P. M. Sadler, G. Sonnert, R. Tai, & K. Klopfenstein (Eds.), AP: A critical examination of the Advanced Placement program (pp. 167-188). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.
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Table 1.
Cost Effectiveness Ratios of Overall AP Exam Performance by Ethnic Group for the 1997 Through the 2012 Academic Year
Year |
Asian |
Black |
Hispanic |
White |
1997 |
0.39 |
-0.32 |
0.19 |
0.35 |
1998 |
0.37 |
-0.34 |
0.14 |
0.35 |
1999 |
0.34 |
-0.35 |
0.06 |
0.35 |
2000 |
0.34 |
-0.37 |
0.03 |
0.37 |
2001 |
0.30 |
-0.43 |
0.04 |
0.32 |
2002 |
0.34 |
-0.39 |
-0.05 |
0.38 |
2003 |
0.32 |
-0.42 |
-0.09 |
0.34 |
2004 |
0.32 |
-0.42 |
-0.10 |
0.34 |
2005 |
0.31 |
-0.49 |
-0.18 |
0.31 |
2006 |
0.33 |
-0.50 |
-0.12 |
0.31 |
2007 |
0.35 |
-0.50 |
-0.22 |
0.32 |
2008 |
0.32 |
-0.55 |
-0.21 |
0.28 |
2009 |
0.36 |
-0.52 |
-0.19 |
0.32 |
2010 |
0.37 |
-0.54 |
-0.21 |
0.30 |
2011 |
0.39 |
-0.53 |
-0.24 |
0.31 |
2012 |
0.42 |
-0.48 |
-0.21 |
0.34 |
Table 2.
Cost Effectiveness Ratios of Overall AP Exam Performance for Female Students by Ethnic Group from 1997 Through 2012
Year |
Asian |
Black |
Hispanic |
White |
1997 |
0.35 |
-0.36 |
0.22 |
0.30 |
1998 |
0.33 |
-0.38 |
0.15 |
0.29 |
1999 |
0.29 |
-0.39 |
0.07 |
0.29 |
2000 |
0.29 |
-0.41 |
-0.13 |
0.31 |
2001 |
0.24 |
-0.48 |
-0.04 |
0.25 |
2002 |
0.29 |
-0.43 |
-0.05 |
0.32 |
2003 |
0.26 |
-0.46 |
-0.09 |
0.28 |
2004 |
0.27 |
-0.46 |
-0.10 |
0.29 |
2005 |
0.25 |
-0.53 |
-0.19 |
0.24 |
2006 |
0.27 |
-0.54 |
-0.14 |
0.24 |
2007 |
0.30 |
-0.54 |
-0.24 |
0.26 |
2008 |
0.27 |
-0.58 |
-0.23 |
0.22 |
2009 |
0.30 |
-0.56 |
-0.22 |
0.25 |
2010 |
0.31 |
-0.56 |
-0.23 |
0.24 |
2011 |
0.33 |
-0.55 |
-0.26 |
0.25 |
2012 |
0.37 |
-0.51 |
-0.24 |
0.27 |
Table 3.
Cost Effectiveness Ratios of Overall AP Exam Performance for Males by Ethnic Group from 1997 Through 2012
Year |
Asian |
Black |
Hispanic |
White |
1997 |
0.42 |
-0.26 |
0.16 |
0.41 |
1998 |
0.42 |
-0.26 |
0.13 |
0.42 |
1999 |
0.40 |
-0.28 |
0.05 |
0.42 |
2000 |
0.39 |
-0.30 |
0.01 |
0.44 |
2001 |
0.37 |
-0.34 |
0.03 |
0.40 |
2002 |
0.41 |
-0.30 |
-0.04 |
0.44 |
2003 |
0.39 |
-0.34 |
-0.08 |
0.41 |
2004 |
0.38 |
-0.35 |
-0.09 |
0.41 |
2005 |
0.38 |
-0.42 |
-0.16 |
0.38 |
2006 |
0.39 |
-0.42 |
-0.11 |
0.39 |
2007 |
0.40 |
-0.44 |
-0.20 |
0.39 |
2008 |
0.39 |
-0.50 |
-0.18 |
0.36 |
2009 |
0.43 |
-0.46 |
-0.16 |
0.40 |
2010 |
0.43 |
-0.49 |
-0.18 |
0.38 |
2011 |
0.44 |
-0.49 |
-0.27 |
0.39 |
2012 |
0.48 |
-0.43 |
-0.16 |
0.42 |
Table 4.
Number of Asian Students Who Earned Passing and Failing Scores from 1997 Through 2012 and Cost of Exams Based on the 2011 Exam Fee
Year |
Passing n |
Total Cost $87 Per Student |
Passing n |
Total Cost $87 Per Student |
1997 |
78,772 |
6,853,164 |
38,878 |
3,382,386 |
1998 |
84,614 |
7,361,418 |
43,019 |
3,742,653 |
1999 |
94,715 |
8,240,205 |
50,939 |
4,431,693 |
2000 |
108,868 |
9,471,516 |
58,622 |
5,100,114 |
2001 |
116,532 |
10,138,284 |
67,805 |
5,899,035 |
2002 |
133,942 |
11,652,954 |
72,032 |
6,266,784 |
2003 |
144,511 |
12,572,457 |
80,803 |
7,029,861 |
2004 |
156,804 |
13,641,948 |
87,492 |
7,611,804 |
2005 |
175,491 |
15,267,717 |
100,711 |
8,761,857 |
2006 |
192,604 |
16,756,548 |
107,267 |
9,332,229 |
2007 |
218,210 |
18,984,270 |
116,124 |
10,102,788 |
2008 |
233,674 |
20,329,638 |
130,717 |
11,372,379 |
2009 |
261,076 |
22,713,612 |
135,126 |
11,755,962 |
2010 |
284,465 |
24,748,455 |
146,671 |
12,760,377 |
2011 |
318,977 |
27,750,999 |
158,674 |
13,804,638 |
2012 |
351,638 |
30,592,506 |
162,692 |
14,154,204 |
Table 5.
Number of Black Students Who Earned Passing and Failing Scores from 1997 Through 2012 and Cost of Exams Based on the 2011 Exam Fee
Year |
Passing n |
Total Cost $87 Per Student |
Failing n |
Total Cost $87 Per Student |
1997 |
12,392 |
1,078,104 |
22,122 |
1,924,614 |
1998 |
13,654 |
1,187,898 |
25,205 |
2,192,835 |
1999 |
15,814 |
1,375,818 |
29,911 |
2,602,257 |
2000 |
17,954 |
1,561,998 |
35,182 |
3,060,834 |
2001 |
18,694 |
1,626,378 |
41,204 |
3,584,748 |
2002 |
22,650 |
1,970,550 |
45,673 |
3,973,551 |
2003 |
24,914 |
2,167,518 |
53,454 |
4,650,498 |
2004 |
27,448 |
2,387,976 |
59,350 |
5,163,450 |
2005 |
29,585 |
2,573,895 |
73,968 |
6,435,216 |
2006 |
33,909 |
2,950,083 |
86,775 |
7,549,425 |
2007 |
39,128 |
3,404,136 |
100,759 |
8,766,033 |
2008 |
42,435 |
3,691,845 |
121,558 |
10,575,546 |
2009 |
50,439 |
4,387,932 |
135,647 |
11,801,289 |
2010 |
56,266 |
4,895,142 |
155,605 |
13,537,635 |
2011 |
63,034 |
5,483,958 |
170,029 |
14,792,523 |
2012 |
70,743 |
6,154,641 |
172,074 |
14,970,438 |
Table 6.
Number of Hispanic Students Who Earned Passing and Failing Scores from 1997 Through 2012 and Cost of Exams Based on the 2011 Exam Fee
Year |
Passing n |
Total Cost $87 Per Student |
Passing n |
Total Cost $87 Per Student |
1997 |
18,871 |
1,641,777 |
13,398 |
1,165,626 |
1998 |
21,485 |
1,869,195 |
16,699 |
1,452,813 |
1999 |
25,199 |
2,192,313 |
22,509 |
1,958,283 |
2000 |
30,693 |
2,670,291 |
29,027 |
2,525,349 |
2001 |
35,543 |
2,918,241 |
35,832 |
3,117,384 |
2002 |
38,543 |
3,353,241 |
47,140 |
3,631,380 |
2003 |
42,564 |
3,703,068 |
49,534 |
4,309,458 |
2004 |
47,236 |
4,109,532 |
55,889 |
4,862,343 |
2005 |
50,993 |
4,436,391 |
70,072 |
6,096,264 |
2006 |
55,721 |
4,847,727 |
69,377 |
6,035,799 |
2007 |
58,286 |
5,070,882 |
86,537 |
7,528,719 |
2008 |
65,838 |
5,727,906 |
95,572 |
8,314,764 |
2009 |
76,319 |
6,639,753 |
107,446 |
9,347,802 |
2010 |
86,482 |
7,523,934 |
124,878 |
10,864,386 |
2011 |
94,268 |
8,201,316 |
145,178 |
12,630,486 |
2012 |
111,684 |
9,716,508 |
160,559 |
13,968,633 |
Table 7
Number of White Students Who Earned Passing and Failing Scores from 1997 Through 2012 and Cost of Exams Based on the 2011 Exam Fee
Year |
Passing n |
Total Cost $87 Per Student |
Failing n |
Total Cost $87 Per Student |
1997 |
382,805 |
33,304,035 |
201,728 |
17,550,336 |
1998 |
419,370 |
36,485,190 |
221,758 |
19,292,946 |
1999 |
472,016 |
41,065,392 |
249,823 |
21,734,601 |
2000 |
549,871 |
47,838,777 |
280,231 |
24,380,097 |
2001 |
585,948 |
50,977,476 |
328,064 |
28,541,568 |
2002 |
679,001 |
59,073,087 |
343,480 |
29,882,760 |
2003 |
725,620 |
63,128,940 |
392,828 |
34,176,036 |
2004 |
778,759 |
67,752,033 |
417,709 |
36,340,683 |
2005 |
828,720 |
72,098,640 |
478,631 |
41,640,897 |
2006 |
884,017 |
76,909,479 |
504,919 |
43,927,953 |
2007 |
976,650 |
84,968,550 |
553,245 |
48,132,315 |
2008 |
1,018,390 |
88,599,930 |
613,751 |
53,396,337 |
2009 |
1,086,254 |
94,504,098 |
612,907 |
53,322,909 |
2010 |
1,140,134 |
99,191,658 |
664,062 |
57,773,394 |
2011 |
1,225,032 |
106,577,784 |
699,006 |
60,813,522 |
2012 |
1,310,752 |
114,035,424 |
713,727 |
62,094,249 |
Table 8.
Cumulative Number of Students by Ethnic Group Who Earned Passing and Failing Scores from 1997 Through 2012 and the Total Cost of Exams Based on the 2011 Exam Fee
Ethnic Group |
Passing n |
Total Cost $87 Per Student |
Failing n |
Total Cost $87 Per Student |
Asian |
2,954,893 |
257,075,691 |
1,557,572 |
135,508,764 |
Black |
539,059 |
46,897,872 |
1,328,516 |
115,580,892 |
Hispanic |
859,725 |
74,622,075 |
1,129,647 |
97,809,489 |
White |
13,063,339 |
1,136,510,493 |
7,275,869 |
633,000,603 |
Figure 1. Cost effectiveness ratio for students by ethnic group who earned passing AP exam mean scores of 3, 4, or 5 compared to failing scores of 1 or 2 for each test administration from 1997 through 2012.
Figure 2. Cost effectiveness ratio for female students by ethnic group who earned passing AP exam mean scores of 3, 4, and 5 compared to failing scores of 1 or 2 for each test administration from 1997 through 2012.
Figure 3. Cost effectiveness ratio for male students by ethnic group who earned passing AP exam mean scores of 3, 4, and 5 compared to failing scores of 1 or 2 for each test administration from 1997 through 2012.
Figure 4. Cost comparison for Asian students who earned passing AP exam mean scores of 3, 4, and 5 compared to failing scores of 1 or 2 for each test administration from 1997 through 2012.
Figure 5. Cost comparison for Black students who earned passing AP exam mean scores of 3, 4, and 5 compared to failing scores of 1 or 2 for each test administration from 1997 through 2012.
Figure 6. Cost comparison for Hispanic students who earned passing AP exam mean scores of 3, 4, and 5 compared to failing scores of 1 or 2 for each test administration from 1997 through 2012.
Figure 7. Cost comparison for White students who earned passing AP exam mean scores of 3, 4, and 5 compared to failing scores of 1 or 2 for each test administration from 1997 through 2012.
Figure 8. Cumulative cost for Asian students who earned passing scores of 3, 4, and 5 compared to failing scores of 1 or 2 on AP exams from 1997 through 2012.
Figure 9. Cumulative cost for Black students who earned passing scores of 3, 4, and 5 compared to failing scores of 1 or 2 on AP exams from 1997 through 2012.
Figure 10. Cumulative cost for Hispanic students who earned passing scores of 3, 4, and 5 compared to failing scores of 1 or 2 on AP exams from 1997 through 2012.
Figure 11. Cumulative cost for White students who earned passing scores of 3, 4, and 5 compared to failing scores of 1 or 2 on AP exams from 1997 through 2012.