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Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña Announce Highest-Ever Number Of NYC Students Taking And Passing Advanced Placement Exams

January 17, 2017

Participation and performance gains largest among Black and Hispanic students

AP for All is bringing all NYC high schoolers access to at least five AP classes by fall 2021

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced record numbers of New York City students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams. The number of students taking at least one Advanced Placement exam in 2016 rose 8.4 percent, from 41,419 students to a record 44,906 students compared to the year prior. The number of students passing at least one Advanced Placement exam rose 8.2 percent, keeping pace with the increase in participation.

The City will build on this highest-ever participation and performance through AP for All, part of Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda. Through AP for All, 75 percent of high school students will have access to at least five AP classes by fall 2018 and all high school students will have access by fall 2021.

“We are shaking the foundation of this system by putting rigorous AP courses in every neighborhood in every borough,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “By providing the coursework needed for college and careers for all New York City students, we are sending a message that we believe in them and support them on the path to success. The increases in participation and performance we see today – particularly among Black and Hispanic students – show that we’re moving in the direction of equity and excellence, and I look forward to the work ahead.”

“I am focused on giving all our students the classroom instruction they need to graduate high school and succeed in college and careers,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Today, we are celebrating real progress on students’ access to rigorous AP courses and exams, but we know there’s more work to do. Through our AP for All initiative, we are ensuring access to AP courses and exams for every high school student across all five boroughs, and giving our high schools the training and support they need to make this a reality.”

Participation and performance gains were largest for Black and Hispanic students: specifically, 14.1 percent more Black students and 9.9 percent more Hispanic students took at least one AP exam in 2016 than in the previous year. Performance gains outpaced these groups’ increases in participation: specifically, 18.0 percent more Black students and 10.8 percent more Hispanic students passed at least one AP exam in 2016 than in the previous year.

While these increases represent high school students in all grades who took an Advanced Placement exam during 2016, there were also increases at the cohort level – high school seniors who took and passed at least one Advanced Placement exam during their high school career. The percentage of all NYC seniors – students in the Class of 2016, who started high school in Fall 2012 – who took at least one Advanced Placement exam during their four years of high school increased to 31.1 percent, a 2.4 percentage point increase from the Class of 2015. Despite gains in 2016 and at the cohort level, a lower percentage of Black and Hispanic students take and pass AP exams when compared to their Asian and white peers.

The increases in participation and performance are supported by the DOE’s AP Expansion program, which brought new AP courses to over 70 schools since 2013. AP for All builds on this work, and this school year, 63 high schools are offering new Advanced Placement courses through the initiative, including 31 that offered no AP courses during the 2015-16 school year. An additional 71 high schools are receiving Pre-AP support to strengthen student and teacher readiness for AP courses in future years. With the introduction of AP for All, the DOE improved its technical reporting procedures; as a result, participation and performance data for prior years has been revised.

"Congratulations to Chancellor Farina for fulfilling the promise she and Mayor de Blasio made to NYC parents that they would expand access to interesting and challenging advanced placement classes that better prepare young adults for college," said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, Chair of the New York State Assembly Committee on Education. "Many years ago I benefited from AP classes and I believe this successful initiative will help many."

"These historic results demonstrate what a substantial investment in public education can do," said Council Member and Council Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm. "Our schools continue to move in the right direction. I am proud of the record number of high school students who toiled long hours in order to pass their AP exams. I will continue to work alongside the administration to bring equity and excellence to all our public schools."

Council Member Costa Constantinides said, "Advanced Placement exams provide high school students with the highest level of education and the opportunity to collect credits before beginning college.  This AP for All progress shows that when given the opportunity, high schoolers can excel.  I am proud that more students are taking and passing these exams.  Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina for their leadership on this important issue."

"As a proud graduate of New York's public schools, I know personally how crucial AP classes are for stimulating and nourishing bright young minds and for helping our students show up to college prepared," said Assembly Member Aravella Simotas. "I applaud the Mayor and the Chancellor for recognizing that more students should have access to classes that not only teach advanced material, but how to learn in a college level course."

“When schools receive the attention and supports they need, the positive results should come as no surprise,” said United of Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew. “Today’s AP test results show that New York City public schools are moving in the right direction.”

AP for All is one of Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña’s Equity and Excellence for All initiatives to ensure that, by 2026, 80 percent of students graduate high school on time and two-thirds of graduates are college-ready. Research has shown that the rigor of AP courses and exams better prepare students for college. Other initiatives including College Access for All, Algebra for All, and Single Shepherd will promote increased college readiness and access to postsecondary options across all five boroughs. This month, elementary, middle, and high schools across the City are participating in the DOE’s first-ever College and Career Month.

More information on AP participation and performance is available online.

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