ADVANCED PLACEMENT PARTICIPATION
IN IDAHO DISTRICTS AND HIGH SCHOOLS
Across the state of Idaho, AP participation and exams are showing growth. But which district and high schools are providing the opportunity for rigor through AP to their students?
There are several ways to look at the data. Here is a chart showing student exam participation in Idaho districts with more than 50 students taking 1 or more exams.
Well, not really a fair comparison. Boise and West Ada have the largest participation rates, but the two are the largest districts in the state, as well. Also, Coeur d'Alene's data includes Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy's students, which inflates the total for the district.
It's interesting to look at growth in student AP exam participation in examining the effort districts are making to improve their AP programs, no matter how large or small the district or participation, no matter how large or small the numbers (as long as they are greater than 50).
The Nampa District appears to be making a concerted effort to grow its AP program, with most of the increase coming at Columbia and Skyview High Schools. Blaine County, Madison, and Twin Falls also have seen increases in participation of over 30%.
Next, let's have a look at student participation and exams taken by high school, again using the 50 student bar.
The four comprehensive Boise high schools lead the way, followed by Vallivue, Rocky Mountain (West Ada), Centennial (West Ada), Century (Pocatello) and Blaine County.
The picture is not much different when we look at exams taken by high school.
Again, though, these are not really fair comparisons, since most of the high schools in the chart are large.
So we took the student participation numbers at the high schools we examined and compared them with the number of juniors and seniors enrolled in 2016, and expressed the resulting fraction as a percentage. Here's what the comparison revealed:
This chart more fairly expresses the AP participation by school. Note that Coeur d'Alene Charter, McCall-Donnelly, and Wood River (Blaine County) are now in the upper reaches of the chart. What the comparison misses is that a number of sophomores, and a few 9th graders, take AP exams. However, it does get at the issue of school size.
We realize that CDA Charter is a special case - the school serves a select group of students who are looking for rigorous curricula, and, from 7th to 12th grade, we see the school's enrollment drop substantially. Still, when we examined the array of AP courses offered at the school, we were impressed. We counted 13 Advanced Placement courses taught in the school.
McCall-Donnelly and Blaine County offer multiple AP courses, as well, proving that relatively small schools can offer an impressive array of opportunities.
Of course, in the Boise District, students can choose from among 25 Advanced Placement offerings, regardless of the high school they attend. In the Vallivue District, there are 17 offerings, and students attending Ridgevue (the district's new high school) and Vallivue High School have equivalent opportunities for rigor.
In many high schools across the state, there are no Advanced Placement offerings. While dual credit opportunities typically abound in these districts, students cannot take the "gold standard" offerings provided in other districts, except through online opportunities from the Idaho Digital Learning Academy and others.