SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego Unified School District was one of six big-city districts where black students improved their scores on advanced placement tests, according to a report released Wednesday by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.
The SDUSD is a finalist for the $1 million Broad Prize for urban education.
The districts selected as finalists reported improved AP test scores for black students compared to their white counterparts, while maintaining or boosting their participation in such high-level classes.
The Corona-Norco Unified School District in Riverside County was the only other California district selected as a Broad Prize finalist.
Among the other big-city school district credited with improved AP scores for black students were Atlanta's Cobb County School District and its Fulton County School System; the Garland Independent School District in suburban Dallas; the Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Ken.; and Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Fla.
The foundation credited rigorous classes starting in elementary school, access to gifted programs, and identifying and recruiting potential high-performing students to enroll in AP courses. School with improved test scores were also more likely to provide extra academic and social support to students increase AP course offerings, offer more teacher training, instill confidence in students about their college prospects and educate parents about the benefits of AP courses.
Rebecca Wolf DiBiase, the managing director of programs for The Broad Foundation, said the report shows that districts need to actively work to increase access to and success on AP tests.
"We are highlighting the practices in these six districts to demonstrate that improvement is possible," DiBiase said. "But progress needs to happen much faster and in all schools before we can truly ensure that all students have access to and the necessary preparation for success in college."
Trevor Packer, the College Board's senior vice president for AP and instruction, said advanced placement courses are an important predictor of college success.
Data shows that thousands of minority or low-income students have the academic potential to succeed in advanced placement courses, but lack access or encouragement to pursue such opportunities, he said.
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