What Are the Post-Secondary Advantages of Enrolling in AP Coursework in High School?

One of the clear advantages of enrolling in AP coursework while still in high school is the possibility of earning college credit with satisfactory performance on AP exams. (Click here to see how AP exam scores are applied to college coursework at area colleges and universities).

However, a recent study is the latest in a growing body of research to suggest that the benefits of enrolling in AP coursework may go beyond earning college credit on the AP exam. Ackerman, Kanfer, and Calderwood (2013) studied the college transcripts of all incoming freshman in the fall of 2009 at Georgia Tech University. Their examination of AP course-taking information coupled with first-year GPA indicates that the number of AP exams students take, along with scores of 3 or better, was correlated with a higher GPA when compared to students who had not taken any AP exams.

Image from Ackerman, Kanfer, and Calderwood (2013).

Image from Ackerman, Kanfer, and Calderwood (2013).

Similarly, high school students taking AP exams and earning scores of 3 or better also had a higher 4- and 5-year graduation rate, when compared to students who had not taken any AP exams.

Ackerman, Kanfer, & Calderwood. (2013). High school advanced placement and student performance in college: STEM majors, non-STEM majors, and gender differences. Teachers College Record. 115(10). 1-43.

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