The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) is a rigorous academic program built on a foundation of high-quality assessments that have been adopted around the world as a model for high standards. Today, the AP Program encompasses 1.8 million students and over 145,000 teachers across all 50 states and more than 120 countries. Participation in AP provides students with the opportunities to take a college-level course at their high school and to earn advanced placement and/or credit in college by obtaining a qualifying score on the AP Exam. More than 90 percent of four-year colleges and universities in the United States grant students credit, placement or both on the basis of successful AP Exam scores. Universities in more than 60 countries recognize AP Exam scores in the admission process and/or award credit and placement for qualifying scores.
The AP Program consists of 34 course offerings across six academic disciplines: Arts, English Language Arts, History and the Social Sciences, Mathematics, Science, and World Languages. AP thus provides flexibility for students to construct a well-balanced program in the arts, sciences and humanities that will both meet their interests and offer a strong foundation for future studies.
For each AP course, an official AP Course Description booklet provides administrators and teachers with the curricular parameters for designing their local AP curriculum. Sample syllabi, approved textbooks (schools are required to use college-level textbooks), and other resources are available on the AP Central website: http://apcentral.collegeboard.org
In order to receive authorization to offer an AP course, school administrators and teachers must be approved through the AP Course Audit process, which entails development and submission of curricular materials to college and university professors for review and validation. Details about the AP Course Audit process are available at: http://www.collegeboard.com/html/apcourseaudit/
AP Exams provide students with a standardized measure of their readiness for placement into a college course beyond the typical freshman course in a discipline. However, recent research (from UC Berkeley and also from the National Center for Educational Accountability) has also indicated that success on AP Exams powerfully predicts overall college performance, persistence, and bachelor’s degree attainment, validating the use of AP as a factor in college admissions decisions. Exams are scored each summer at the AP Reading by college and university professors and AP teachers using college-level standards.
Each July, educators can access their students’ AP score data online, and can view AP Instructional Planning Reports that help pinpoint areas of teaching and learning for further improvement. AP score data can be exported from the College Board’s system into district and school databases.
Information about AP credit and placement policies at hundreds of colleges and universities is available online with the AP Credit Policy information search tool at:
AP Professional Development for Teachers and Administrators
The AP Program offers a variety of online and face-to-face professional development activities (both AP and Pre-AP) that focus on instructional strategies and differentiated instruction techniques addressing the needs of struggling students. Workshops that are designated for new AP teachers (zero to three years’ experience) provide an overview of the AP Program and focus on course development, the AP Exam, available resources and models of successful teaching strategies. Workshops that are designated for experienced AP teachers (more than three years’ experience) review similar course and exam information, but also delve deeper into specific topics within each subject area and focus on strategies for involving and engaging students.
For a complete catalog of AP professional development institutes and workshops, see:
Schools and students participating in the pilot will be eligible for an additional credential: the AP International Diploma. The Advanced Placement International Diploma (APID) is a globally recognized certificate for students with an international outlook. The APID challenges a student to display exceptional achievement on AP Exams across several disciplines. Until now, it has only been available to students participating in AP overseas or students applying to institutions outside the US.
Universities worldwide utilize the APID in admission. The APID is not a substitute for a high school diploma; instead, it provides additional certification of outstanding academic excellence.
To earn an APID, students must earn grades of three or higher on at least five AP Exams in the following content areas:
1. Two AP Exams from two different languages selected from English and/or world languages
3. One exam from the sciences or mathematics content areas
4. One (or two) additional exam(s) from among any content areas except English and world languages. These include the content areas already described as well as history and social sciences and arts
A more detailed explanation of the criteria for achieving the AP International Diploma is available at: