Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Where Does DCSD Stand With Regards to Advanced Placement Classes?


At last weeks meeting the DeKalb County School Board of Education voted to fund 1 AP exam for all DCSD students for the May 2017 AP Exam period.  The Georgia Department of Education has previously approved financing 1 AP Exam for each student enrolled in the Free & Reduced Lunch Program.   

Quick Note:  Gwinnett County pays for all additional AP exams for students enrolled in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. (State DOE pays for 1).
 
In my view, this is a worthy expenditure of our school district funds.  A few of the Board members asked pertinent questions: 
  1. How many DCSD students are exposed to AP classes?
  2. How many teachers are qualified to teach AP classes?
  3. Is DCSD seeing an academic payoff with regards to offering AP classes?
 
I put together a chart of the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 AP Exam data provided by the Governor's Office of Student Achievement.  It is a mixed bag for DCSD, but I believe, with a small amount of effort the District could be on the upswing with regards to AP classes.
 

School Name
Number of Students (2015)
Number of Students (2016)
2016 vs 2015
Number of Tests Taken (2015)
Number of Tests Taken (2016)
2016 vs 2015
# of Tests Scoring 3 or Higher (2015)
# of Tests Scoring 3 or Higher (2016)
2015 vs 2016
Martin Luther King, Jr. High School
173
88
-85
213
106
-107
9
2
-7
Miller Grove High School
110
85
-25
122
96
-26
16
19
3
Cedar Grove High School
186
192
6
257
247
-10
11
14
3
Redan High School
88
63
-25
98
74
-24
1
4
3
Lithonia High School
152
120
-32
191
152
-39
22
20
-2
Stone Mountain High School
98
109
11
124
149
25
26
21
-5
Dekalb Early College Academy
26
28
2
27
37
10
11
25
14
DeKalb School of the Arts
146
152
6
255
257
2
177
174
-3
Stephenson High School
277
257
-20
341
332
-9
41
36
-5
Arabia Mountain High School  
238
298
60
315
365
50
86
72
-14
Elizabeth Andrews High School
16
12
-4
16
13
-3
0
0
0
DeKalb High School of Technology-South
3
5
2
 
 
0
 
 
0
Tucker High School
385
375
-10
571
601
30
112
136
24
Columbia High School
116
136
20
154
184
30
29
14
-15
Druid Hills High School
338
325
-13
551
509
-42
251
246
-5
Lakeside High School
674
689
15
1,155
1,284
129
672
756
84
McNair High School
58
100
42
72
133
61
0
1
1
Clarkston High School
141
168
27
188
238
50
20
27
7
Cross Keys High School
177
214
37
244
290
46
58
87
29
Towers High School
128
89
-39
160
123
-37
3
5
2
Chamblee Charter High School
490
521
31
1,075
1,183
108
788
853
65
Dunwoody High School
510
546
36
975
1,192
217
652
838
186
Southwest DeKalb High School
263
263
0
371
323
-48
123
132
9
Totals
4,793
4,835
42
7,475
7,888
413
3,108
3,482
374

 
In summary,
  1. There were 42 more students taking AP exams in 2016 vs 2015.
  2. There were 413 more AP tests taken in 2016 vs 2015.
  3. There were 374 more AP tests where students scored a 3 or higher.  However, almost half of that increase was from Dunwoody HS students.

There are still areas within DCSD where there is a disproportionate number of students not taking AP classes.  What steps can the district take to insure all students have access to AP classes? 

A few of my thoughts are below.  This is not a difficult problem to solve in my opinion, it just takes a willingness on the part of DCSD:
  1. Employ teachers qualified to teach AP courses and assign them as roving instructors in geographically located high schools.
  2. Use the modern technology that DCSD has spent many millions of dollars on and have a qualified DCSD teacher “televise” courses to multiple school classes.
  3. DCSD pay for students to take online AP courses. 

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