Benefits of Advanced Placement Courses

A team of Texas researchers had concluded that AP courses and exams are “worth it,” Jay Mathews wrote in the January 29 edition of the Washington Post.

            The study on the value of AP in college success looked at 222,289 students from a variety of backgrounds who attend universities in the Texas system.  The researchers said they found “strong evidence of benefits to students who participate in both AP courses and exams in terms of higher GPAs, credit hours earned, and four-year graduation rates,” Mathews reported.

            The larger of the two studies, by researchers at University of Texas at Austin, concluded that AP students do better in college than similar students who have taken college courses in high school, a practice known as “dual enrollment.”  The study also found that even a score of 2 out of 5 points on an AP exam correlates with better college performance than that achieved by students who did not take AP or who skipped the AP exam.  However, colleges usually give credit only for scores of 3 or above. 

            A separate University of Texas study of 24,941 students said those who used their AP credits to take more advanced courses in college had better grades in those courses than similar students who first took college introductory courses instead of AP in 10 subjects.  Both studies were commissioned by the College Board.