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Goal: Ensure that all students are on track to graduate from high school on-time and ready for college and careers.
Objective: All high school graduates are ready for non-remedial college-level work the first day they arrive on campus.
How progress is measured: The percent of public school graduates who took at least one Advanced Placement test in high school: 2007-08 and 2008-09
Why is this measure important? Every year, 40% of college freshmen take at least one remedial course, making up for content they should have mastered in high school and spending tuition dollars on courses that will not count toward a postsecondary degree. Taking rigorous, college-level courses in high school, such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or coursework that earns dual credit for high school and college, will better prepare students for college success.
What do the data tell us at the national level? The percentage of public high school graduates who took an Advanced Placement (AP) course in high school in the United States was higher in 2008–09 (26.5  percent) than it was in 2007–08 (25.0 percent).
What are the limitations of the indicator? The rate at which graduates are taking AP tests is presented as an indicator of the percentage of students taking advanced level coursework. It is not a measure of the percentage of students who earn college credit by achieving a threshold score on the AP examinations; some students take AP courses, but do not achieve scores high enough to earn college credit. At this time, there are no data that can be used to compare states on the percentage of high school graduates who require remedial work when they enroll in college. International Baccalaureate participation data are not presented in this indicator since there were not a sufficient number of participants for many states upon which to make comparisons.
Documentation for the indicator: The College Board administers the Advanced Placement Program (AP). AP is a rigorous academic program with more than 30 courses in a wide variety of subject areas, providing high school students with the opportunity to study and learn at the college level. Each AP course is modeled upon a comparable college course, and college and university faculty help ensure that AP courses align with college-level standards. More than 90 percent of 4-year colleges and universities in the United States grant students credit, placement, or both on the basis of successful AP exam scores. For additional information on the AP program, visit http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/about.html.
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