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State students in advanced-placement courses up one-fourth
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Times Staff Writer This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Increase is ahead of national average hike of 9 percent

MONTGOMERY - The number of Alabama students who took advanced-placement courses this year jumped by nearly one-fourth compared to the national average of 9 percent, state education officials said Tuesday.

The College Board also released results showing AP test takers in Alabama increased their scores by 8 percent, compared to the national increase of 6 percent.

Also, 10 schools in Madison County will be targeted in September in a campaign to increase the number of students taking AP courses.

Calling Gov. Bob Riley the "education governor," state Superintendent Joe Morton praised him for helping the state win a $13.2 million grant from the National Math and Science Initiative for the state and a public-private partnership - A+ College Ready.

A+ College Ready is helping four Montgomery schools and eight in Jefferson County to increase the number of AP courses and the students enrolled in them.

The organization will invest $1.5 million next year and $8 million over five years in Jefferson and Montgomery counties, said A+ College Ready President Mary Boehm.

She said Madison County will be the next target. Boehm said schools in the Huntsville, Madison and Madison County school systems will be examined for participation in the program.

"We're spending the month of September in Huntsville," said Boehm. "We're moving into Huntsville. We have 10 schools in Huntsville that we're looking at."

The 10 schools from Madison County that responded to a request for proposals from A+ College Ready are Butler, Columbia, Huntsville, Johnson, Lee, Bob Jones, Buckhorn, Hazel Green, New Hope and Sparkman high schools.

Meanwhile, Morton also announced that Alabama public school students outpaced the SAT national average scores in mathematics, reading and writing.

Morton acknowledged that fewer Alabama students take the SAT but, like the ACT, both scores are rising in the state.

"The SAT scores are actually well above the national average," he said.

Funding for the AP Initiative and ACCESS Distance Learning program was first initiated in 2006 through a $1 million appropriation advocated by Gov. Bob Riley.

"After only one year of funding, what has happened with our AP courses in Alabama is truly incredible," said Riley. "The thing that really impressed me, among minority participation, black (students were) up 62.5 percent ... . That was just incredible."

Riley said the number of students who take AP courses will only increase in the future since distance learning will be available in every high school starting next August.

Morton said the ability to offer AP courses through video-conferencing to the smallest schools in the most remote areas of the state will make Alabama students competitive nationally and internationally.
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