AP Day at the State House Gives Students a Voice About College Credit

Among the many enthusiastic students from across Massachusetts at the State House March 5 to celebrate the state’s first ever Advanced Placement Day were two exceptional Everett High School seniors.  These two AP coursework veterans deeply appreciate the value of the classes and also the importance of ensuring that more students like themselves receive credit for passing AP exams.  Hopefully, legislators were listening.

Bettyna Elesgar and Ileissa Ovalle have taken or are currently taking a whopping 13 AP classes between them – Ileissa alone is taking four AP classes this year and will have completed nine AP courses by the time she graduates.  They are proof positive of the immense value of AP coursework in capturing potential and propelling students to college and beyond. They also represent the importance of making sure passing AP exam scores are counted for college credit.

Both students are advocates for a bill filed this year, An Act Relative to Advance Placement Examination, which would end confusion and system-wide inconsistency about AP credit by requiring all public two- and four-year Massachusetts colleges and universities to accept for college credit a score of 3 or better on any College Board AP exam.  The bills (S.762 and H.1206), filed by Senator Moore and Representative Brodeur, have 24 co-sponsors and have been assigned to the Joint Committee on Higher Education.

“It would definitely make an impact for me as well as my friends,” said Ileissa. “Most of the time when it comes AP exams, we always pass with either 3 or 4 and even then those scores don’t really count as AP credit. It would be very beneficial because it makes the cost of going to college a little cheaper.”

The certainty of receiving credit would help draw more students to AP, Bettyna said. “It’s important because a lot of students take AP courses with the expectation that they’ll be able to earn that credit and they won’t have to take that class again in college. So there will be more incentive for students to continue taking those classes.”

The two students also represent the kind of brainpower and potential Massachusetts needs to grow its economy. Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, who addressed the assemblage of high school students at State House AP Day, made it clear that they represent “the lifeblood” of the Commonwealth’s economy. The AP credit bill promises to keep more of the Commonwealth’s homegrown potential studying in-state and also more likely to stay here to build careers.  That’s an investment in the state’s future that just makes good sense for students, families, and future employers.