You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

breaking news

Obamas leave Washington to begin life as private family

Obama keeps early campaign promise about high schoolers


During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama said he would “set a goal of increasing the number of high school students taking college level or AP courses by 50 percent in the coming years.”

AP, or advanced placement, courses are taken in high school and can be used for college credit if the student earns a high enough score on the final exam. On this metric, Obama hit his target.

Data from the College Board, which runs the AP program, shows that the number of students taking AP courses rose from 1.58 million in the 2007-08 academic year to 2.61 million in the 2015-16 academic year. That’s a 65 percent increase — well above Obama’s goal.

If you instead use the 2008-09 academic year as the baseline, the increase is still greater than 50 percent — 54 percent, to be precise.

College Board spokeswoman Jaslee Carayol said that much of the AP participation growth has come from low-income AP test-takers. Using a federal fee-reduction program called the Advanced Placement Test Fee Program, the number of AP exams taken by low-income students has grown from 82,000 in 1999 to 850,000 in 2016.

We’ll also note that in his promise, Obama also mentioned high school students taking college level courses, often referred to as dual enrollment. By that measurement, he didn’t do quite as well, but he still notched a significant double-digit increase.

Experts told us it’s hard, given the timing and availability of the relevant statistics, to check progress on this goal directly. But they added that the number can be approximated by looking at the percentage of college students who are under 18.

Data from the Department of Education’s Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System showing that in fall 2007 — the last sampling before Obama took office — 683,673 students under 18 attended some college. By fall 2013, that number had risen to 885,104 — a 29 percent increase. If the data were projected forward from 2013 based on past growth rates, the increase would be somewhere around 40 percent.

In isolation, this “dual enrollment” falls short of the 50 percent increase Obama called for. However, Obama did refer to students “taking college level or AP courses,” which suggests that he was looking at the combination of both. And if you combine the two types of data, the increase has been over 50 percent.

Observers said Obama deserves at least partial credit for achieving this result.

“The Obama administration has done a considerable amount to encourage states and school districts to increase dual enrollment opportunities through written policy and grant guidelines in programs such as ESEA Waivers, Investing in Innovation Fund, Race to the Top, School Improvement Grants, College Access Challenge Grants, Promise Neighborhoods, and the Fund for Improvement in Postsecondary Education,” said Adam I. Lowe, executive director of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships.

We rate this a Promise Kept.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Georgia Politics

Ominous message meant to silence Atlanta bribery suspect
Ominous message meant to silence Atlanta bribery suspect

A construction contractor with deep connections in the Atlanta government has been accused of paying more than $1 million in bribes to win city contracts. After his expected guilty plea, he could become federal prosecutors’ star witness in a corruption case now gripping City Hall, legal experts say. But 16 months ago, somebody wanted him to keep...
Fulton bet in Falcons-Packers football game trades Coke for cheese
Fulton bet in Falcons-Packers football game trades Coke for cheese

Fulton County promised to “rise up” with the Atlanta Falcons this week, betting Green Bay leaders cheese for Coke that the Atlanta football team will best the Packers Sunday to make it to the Super Bowl. Declaring Wednesday Atlanta Falcons Rise Up Day, Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves led the audience at the Fulton County commission...
DeKalb Ethics Board seeks legislation to retain oversight power
DeKalb Ethics Board seeks legislation to retain oversight power

DeKalb County Board of Ethics members came up with a plan Thursday that they hope will keep the panel operating even if a lawsuit seeking to have it declared unconstitutional is successful. A lawsuit filed by former DeKalb Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton, who has three pending ethics cases, alleges that the board is unconstitutional because some...
Fulton moving forward, Chairman John Eaves says in state of county
Fulton moving forward, Chairman John Eaves says in state of county

Fulton Commission Chairman John Eaves on Thursday described a litany of accomplishments for the county in 2016, touting expanded early voting, the successful passage of a transportation tax and work to overhaul the local justice system. In his State of the County address at the Georgia World Congress Center, Eaves said that, by coming together and...
Suspect in City Hall bribery case was threatened with dead rats
Suspect in City Hall bribery case was threatened with dead rats

Channel 2 Action News Investigative Reporter Jodie Fleischer and AJC Staff Writer Raisa Habersham contributed to this article. E.R. Mitchell Jr., a prominent construction contractor accused this week of paying bribes for City of Atlanta contracts, was already talking to the FBI in September 2015. Somebody knew about it and wanted him to keep quiet...
More Stories