BOSTON CHARTERS OUTPERFORM COMPARABLE BOSTON DISTRICT HIGH SCHOOLS ON ADVANCED PLACEMENT EXAMS

July 16, 2014
Dom Slowey

Data from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (2012-13) shows that students in Boston charter public high schools took and passed Advanced Placement (AP) exams at far higher rates than students in open-admission Boston district high schools. 

Participation in AP courses and success on AP exams have been shown to predict college success.

Pass Rates:

  • In Boston’s charter high schools, 25% of AP tests resulted in a passing grade (3 or higher). 
  • In Boston’s non-exam district high schools, 14% of AP tests resulted in a passing grade.
  • In Boston’s three exam district high schools (i.e. district high schools that admit students based on an entrance exam), 72% of AP tests resulted in a passing grade.

Participation Rates: 

  • In Boston’s charter high schools, 51% of upperclassmen (i.e. junior and seniors) took one or more AP exams.  In some Boston charters that have “AP for all” policies, the participation rate was 75%.
  • In Boston’s non-exam district high schools, only 18% of upperclassmen took one or more AP exams.
  • In Boston’s three district exam high schools, 91% of upperclassmen took one or more AP exams.
  • Across all Boston district high schools, 90% of AP tests that resulted in a passing score were taken by students enrolled in one of Boston’s three exam schools.
  • In Boston charter high schools, 48% of the African American upperclassmen and 42% of Latino upperclassmen took one or more AP exams.  By contrast, in Boston’s non-exam district high schools, 16% of African-American upperclassmen and 22% of Latino upperclassmen took one or more AP exams.