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New York City’s AP for All increases access to rigorous education for all students

Partnership approach with National Math and Science Initiative is one key to success

Two years after New York City implemented its ambitious AP for All initiative, 75% of high school students have access to at least five Advanced Placement® classes, and participation is increasing among African American and Latino students.

Since 2013, when the nation’s largest school system launched a predecessor program to AP for All, the number of African American students taking at least one AP exam has increased 60%; the number of Latino students taking at least one AP exam has increased 58.7%.

A lead partner in this work is the National Math and Science Initiative, which provides district- and school-level advising, teacher training and resources, and extended learning opportunities for students.

“At the heart of our relationship with NMSI is our common mission to reach historically underserved students, and to ensure access to and participation and performance in rigorous coursework that prepares them for college and career,” says Ruby Ababio-Fernandez, senior executive director of the Office of Equity and Access at the New York City Department of Education.

AP benefits
New York established the Office of Equity and Access in 2012 to end long-standing racial, ethnic and socioeconomic gaps; promote education equity; and empower schools to address the needs of all learners. The office launched AP for All in 2016 to increase access, participation and performance for all 1.1 million students in the city’s 1,800 schools.

“There were wide disparities in AP participation and performance for our black and Hispanic students as well as for our language learners and students with disabilities,” Ababio-Fernandez says. “Research shows that students who take AP courses and exams are more likely to graduate from college on time, and gains are greatest for low-income students and students of color.”

Teacher training
NMSI gives teachers content-specific instruction, scaffolding strategies and mentoring by AP experts. During the year, NMSI examines data from formative assessments and mock AP exams to help teachers modify instruction.

Through its Laying the Foundation program, NMSI helps elementary, middle and high school teachers establish vertical teams to prepare all students for college and career readiness classes, with classroom-ready materials, including model lessons and labs.

‘Key partner’
“NMSI remains one of our key partners,” Ababio-Fernandez says. “NMSI also provides direct support to schools, teachers and students to meet our goals of expanding AP access, participation and performance for all students in New York City.”