High school student enrollment in UCR AP Readiness Program doubles

By Julie Porter |

More and more high school students enroll in Advanced Placement courses to help prepare them for the rigor of college and strengthen their college applications. In fact, according to a recent study from The College Board and the Education Commission of the States, the number of students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses have doubled over the past 15 years.

“Advanced Placement courses represent some of the most academically rigorous courses a high school student can take and are now a formal measure of a State of California’s college and career readiness indicator,” said Gil Compton, Director of College and Career Readiness at Riverside County Office of Education. “Studies show that when a student completes one AP course during high school they have a 40% higher chance of completing a four-year degree.”

With this in mind, UC Riverside Graduate School of Education and Riverside County Office of Education launched UCR AP Readiness, a unique program designed to provide additional academic support for students preparing for end of course AP examinations. As part of the program, AP teachers can also attend seminars alongside their students and participate in professional development from some of the best AP teachers in Riverside County. Students also have the option of participating in events organized by UCR undergraduate admissions and student affairs programs.

Modeled after UCLA’s successful AP Readiness program, UCR’s program provides supplemental support and instruction for all 23 districts serviced by the Riverside County Office of Education, offering monthly Saturday courses in STEM areas – science, math, computer science—and English.

Now in its second year, the program has seen considerable growth: the first four sessions of 2017-18 averaged 1,000 students and 80 educators per event, up from the 2015 sessions, which averaged 500 students and 50 educators.

“As the reputation and impact of the program has spread across the county, more schools and students are taking advantage of this great learning opportunity,” said UCR AP Readiness program director James D. Keipp.

The program has received positive feedback from educators and students alike. Alma, a junior at West Valley High School, said that one of her favorite things about AP Readiness is that she has a chance to explore a college campus, since the courses are held at UCR. She added, “The program helps me review material from a different perspective than the classroom. I obtain a better understanding of the material, which helps me on future AP tests.”

The evidence about the success of the program isn’t just anecdotal. “Currently, the data are indicating that students who participate in the UCR AP Readiness program have a 20% higher passing rate on the end of course examination in comparison to students who do not,” added Compton. “The Riverside County Office of Education believes so strongly in the AP Readiness program that funding to increase the program is being sought. Currently, grant awards fund the program, and we are working to secure additional grant funding to continue and expand the program.”

The GSOE is currently looking for grant funding to expand the AP Readiness program to districts in San Bernardino County.

“One of the goals of the Graduate School of Education is to help increase college and career readiness in the Inland Empire. Through our collaboration with the Riverside County of Education on the AP Readiness Program, we are able to make a difference in the preparedness of our local high school students,” said Thomas M. Smith, Dean of the Graduate School of Education at UCR. “We are extremely encouraged by the success of the program and its positive impact on the community.”

Find out more about UCR AP Readiness including upcoming sessions and registration information here.