Through the AP STEM Access program, more than 800 U.S. public schools are eligible to receive funding to start one or more new AP courses in STEM subject areas. These grants will be used by teachers for professional development and to acquire classroom materials, lab and technology equipment, college-level textbooks, and other resources imperative for a high-quality AP course. These grants will vary from $1,200 to $9,000, depending on the subject area of the new course. In addition, to support inclusivity and outreach to students in the participating schools, all AP STEM teachers who increase diversity in their classrooms in these schools will receive a $100 DonorsChoose.org gift card for each student who achieves a score of 3, 4 or 5 on an AP STEM exam. Teachers can use these gift cards to further invest in classroom resources -- with the goal of driving student engagement and achievement in years to come. Well-resourced classrooms provide hands-on activities and engaging inquiry-based lab investigations that are essential to AP and can inspire students to excel in these fields.
Participating schools will start the new AP math and science courses in fall 2013 and will make a commitment to offer these new AP courses for a minimum of three years. This will enable the courses to become an integral part of the overall array of AP course offerings within the school.
The 800 public schools that qualify for this program were chosen because they have historically had a population of underrepresented students who were academically prepared for an AP STEM course that is not offered by the school. Specifically, in the 2010-11 academic year these schools had 10 or more African American, Hispanic/Latino, or American Indian/Alaska Native students -- and/or 25 or more female students -- with high potential to be successful in one or more AP STEM courses that were not offered in their school. For this criterion, high AP potential was defined as a 70 percent or higher likelihood of scoring a 3, 4 or 5 on the AP Exam as predicted by the student's performance on specific sections of the PSAT/NMQST((R)) (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.) In addition, these schools serve communities with a median household income of $100,000 or less, and/or 40 percent or more of their students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. Research shows that the AP Program can provide a cost-effective way for high school students to earn college credit, advanced placement or both while still in high school, but these academically prepared minority and female students are not being given that opportunity. The grant from Google will help eliminate some of the obstacles that cause these inequities and will help these students access AP STEM courses for which they have been academically prepared to succeed.
The College Board will work with educators and legislators at the state, district and school levels to inform all teachers, counselors, parents and students at qualifying schools about this opportunity to expand access to AP STEM courses for traditionally underrepresented students and will provide them with implementation support throughout the program. AP courses and exams within the STEM disciplines include: Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Computer Science A, Environmental Science, Physics B, Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism, Physics C: Mechanics, and Statistics.
The funding for this AP STEM Access program was awarded by Google to DonorsChoose.org as part of Google's new Global Impact Awards, which support organizations using technology and innovative approaches to tackle some of the world's toughest human challenges.
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