Governor Susana Martinez announced today that a $1 million investment by the non-profit College Board more than doubles state spending on the Advanced Placement (AP) program for high school students in New Mexico. The funding, combined with $750,000 in state funding, will expand opportunities for thousands of New Mexico students to save on college through AP courses. Governor Martinez also says the funding could help double the number of Hispanic students succeeding in AP courses.
The Governor and Education Secretary Hanna Skandera joined officials from the College Board, the producers of AP coursework, to announce the additional $1 million investment to expand and train teachers in AP courses. New data released by the College Board reveals more than 10,900 students in the Class of 2012 showed strong potential to be successful in AP courses, yet only 40% of them actually took AP courses, placing New Mexico 36th in the nation.
"Based on data we've collected from those who have taken the Pre-SAT, we have thousands of New Mexico students not taking AP courses in high school who could further their education and save thousands of dollars by doing so," said Governor Susana Martinez. "Access to AP courses can be particularly limited in rural areas, and I'm appreciative that the College Board is providing funding to help us expand access to college-ready classes for students throughout our communities in New Mexico."
Students who are successful in AP courses are given college credit for the same course at nearly every university in the country. AP courses already provide more than $1.6 million in college tuition savings to New Mexico students and their families. If every student showing potential for AP courses is given the opportunity to be successful, it would create more than $5 million in college cost savings in a single year. Additionally, New Mexico's colleges and universities would receive students more prepared for the challenge of higher education.
"Each student who passes an AP course has a head start toward a successful college career," said Public Education Department Secretary Hanna Skandera. "Not only will these students save time and money by earning credit early, they will have a strong sense of what it takes to be successful at the college level."
In addition to expanding AP courses for students, the opportunity announced on Tuesday also has the potential to help close the achievement gap in New Mexico. PED data shows the potential to double the number of Hispanics and triple the number of Native American students who take and pass AP classes.
For example, in 2012, 738 Hispanic who graduated showed the potential to pass AP English courses (based on their sophomore Pre-SAT data), but only 45% of those students took the course. Similarly, 87 Native American graduates showed the potential to be successful in an AP History class, but only 36% of those students took the course and passed.
"We have such an opportunity here to narrow the achievement gap and give all of our kids, regardless of where you live or where you come from, the opportunity to succeed," says Martinez. "Clearly, we can double the number of Hispanic students and triple the number of Native Americans who are succeeding in AP courses. These aren't statistics, these are our kids. And we are investing in their success."
"New Mexico has a golden opportunity to set an example for the nation in student access to Advanced Placement coursework," said David Coleman, president of the non-profit College Board. "We're proud to partner with New Mexico's leaders and educators to increase Advanced Placement opportunities for diverse students and we are eager to see each of them reach their potential."
During the 2013 Legislative session, Governor Martinez secured $750,000 for AP in New Mexico, which is more than the $500,000 allocated in each of the previous two years.
Tuesday's announcement of an additional $1 million from the College Board will create more opportunities for students across the state. The funds will be used to train additional AP-level teachers and train guidance counselors to help guide students to AP courses. This investment will also allow for AP parent materials to be provided in English, Spanish and Dine (Navajo).
Funding will also be utilized to better identify students who would be successful in AP courses much earlier in their academic career.