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crease the number of students who pass those examinations from 230,000 in 2004 to at least 700,000 by 2010. AP and IB programs would be voluntary and open to all and would give students a head start by providing them with college-level courses taught by outstanding high school teachers.46 The result will be better prepared undergraduates who will have a better chance of completing their bachelor’s degrees in science, engineering, and mathematics.47 Table 5-2 shows that a student who passes an AP examination has a better chance overall—regardless of ethnicity—of completing a bachelor’s degree within 6 years. Students would be eligible for a 50% examination fee rebate and a $100 mini-scholarship for each passing score on an AP or IB mathematics or science examination.

This action is built on standards, testing, and incentives to achieve excellence in science and mathematics. The APIP program has been successful across gender, ethnicity, and economic groups. The program proposed herein would give students the further background they need to study science, engineering, and mathematics as undergraduates.

Such advanced coursework can provide the foundation for students to be internationally competitive in the fields of focus. For example, US students who passed AP calculus in 2000 were administered the 1995 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) test.48 Their scores were significantly higher than the average 1995 US score, and they were higher


One researcher estimates that each year 25,000 interested and adequately prepared students in the United States are told they cannot take AP or IB courses. He further speculates that another 75,000 or more students who could do well elect not to take them because no one encourages them to do so. See J. Mathews. Class Struggle: What’s Wrong (and Right) with America’s Best Public High Schools. New York: Times Books, 1998. Limiting access to advanced study occurs in all kinds of educational settings, including the most competitive high schools in America—schools with adequate resources, qualified teachers, and well-prepared students. Those schools, while typically advocating college preparation for everyone, create layers of curricular differentiation, such that only a select group of students are allowed entrance into certain AP and honors courses; other students are placed in less vigorous courses. See P. Attewell. “The Winner Take-All High School: Organizational Adaptations to Educational Stratification.” Sociology of Education 74(4)(2001):267-296. For a larger discussion of access to advanced coursework, see National Research Council. 2002. Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. Schools. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002.


Academic opportunities such as AP and IB programs benefit students in several ways. High school students who participate in AP and IB courses and associated examinations are exposed to college-level academic content and are challenged to complete more rigorous coursework. Students with qualifying examination scores are provided the opportunity to earn college credit or advanced placement, depending on the college or university they attend. Texas Education Agency. Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Examination Result in Texas 2003-2004. Document no. GE05 601 11. Austin, TX, 2005. P. 6.


See Chapter 3 or Appendix D for more detailed discussion of the exam. Available at:

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