Fulfilling the Promise: The Potential of Advanced Placement to Improve College Outcomes for Black, Latino, and Low-Income Students
The U.S. economy requires a highly educated workforce. Ninety nine percent of all new jobs created between January 2010 and January 2016 went to workers with at least some college education, and the U.S. government projects that nearly forty percent of jobs will require at least some college by 2028. Yet deep and persistent racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in college outcomes threaten the country’s ability to meet its workforce needs.
- Introducing diverse students to the rigors of AP and supporting their success is a promising strategy for improving college readiness and success.
- Mass Insight’s AP STEM & English program improves AP participation and performance, particularly among Black, Latino, and low-income students.
- AP STEM & English program participants also outperform students statewide in college matriculation, persistence, and graduation.
- Although the AP STEM & English program was not designed to close racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic gaps in AP participation and performance or college outcomes, program data offer a useful opportunity to evaluate AP’s promise as a high-leverage strategy for closing persistent racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in college outcomes.
- Analyses suggest that improving AP participation and performance among Black, Latino, and low-income students relative to White mid- to high-income students will narrow but not completely eliminate corresponding disparities in college outcomes.
- To maximize the gap-closing potential of AP interventions, practitioners may wish to consider explicitly targeting additional supports to Black, Latino, and low-income students or embedding AP into more holistic college readiness interventions.