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NEWS RELEASES 2006-07 :: SEPTEMBER 29, 2006


Participation rates and access to Advanced Placement courses in low wealth districts will increase thanks to the state's recent receipt of an Advanced Placement Incentive Grant worth up to $1.6 million over the next three years.

State Superintendent June Atkinson said she was pleased that North Carolina once again received the Advanced Placement (AP) Incentive Grant, which will be chiefly used to help widen access for minority students, rural students and others who are under-represented in these courses. "Participation rates show that access to AP courses has spread much more quickly over the past five years. Thanks to this grant, more low-income students, African American students and Hispanic students will continue to be encouraged to take these rigorous courses," Atkinson said.

Since 2000, the number of AP exams taken by low-income North Carolina public school students has grown by 2,553, by 4,134 for African American students and by 1,226 for Hispanic students.

The incentive grant also can be used to develop additional AP online courses, provide targeted professional development to middle and secondary teachers in low wealth districts and develop Summer Pre-AP Academies for middle school students in selected low wealth districts.

Department staff will be sending an announcement to the state's low wealth districts regarding the availability of these grants and how they can participate in the competitive Request for Proposals process. Staff will review local proposals and award subgrants based on identified needs. The funding level for the grant each year is $549,297.

Access to AP exams is important in encouraging students to reach high standards. It's also an important indicator of future college success. Students who take these college-level courses are more likely to complete their bachelor's degree in four years or less.

Advanced Placement courses are college-level courses offered in 35 subject areas and assessed through the annual AP exams. These exams are graded on a scale of 1-5, with a 5 being the highest score. Most colleges and universities in the United States and North Carolina use AP exam results in their admissions process and may give college credit to students earning grades of 3 or better. AP exams, with the exception of AP Studio Art, which is a portfolio assessment, consist of dozens of multiple choice questions and free-response questions.

For more information, please contact the NCDPI Communications Division at 919.807.3450.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.