Advancing Educational Opportunities through Free, Online AP Classes
NASHVILLE, TN – Today, the Tennessee Department of Education, in partnership with the Niswonger Foundation, highlighted the 2023 AP Access for ALL Annual Impact Report as the AP Access for ALL (APAA) program enters the third year of providing free, online advanced placement (AP) classes to Tennessee high school students. More than 2,200 students signed up to take APAA courses this fall, an increase of more than 77% from the start of the 2022-23 school year.
“We are thrilled that our school districts, students, and staff are embracing postsecondary readiness through AP Access for ALL,” said Lizzette Reynolds, Commissioner of Education. “This program demonstrates that every student deserves access to college-level coursework, no matter where they go to school.”
Created by the department and administered by the Niswonger Foundation, APAA eliminates financial barriers and supports student enrollment in AP coursework not offered at their local high school. As APAA enters its third year, the program continues to expand and innovate, with 21 AP courses now offered to students.
Before the launch of APAA in June 2021, only 50% of Tennessee high school students had access to an AP course at their school. Now, 97% of Tennessee school districts have partnered with APAA, allowing more students than ever to have access to college-preparatory coursework. Over the last two years, APAA students took 2,629 AP exams, with more than half earning scores considered by the College Board to be “college ready” or better. These scores allow students to bypass entry-level college classes, providing students $1.2 million in potential college savings.
“Giving more students in Tennessee the chance to save time and money through AP classes is significant, but what’s even more valuable is this program allows students the opportunity to experience college-level coursework and build self-assurance in their capabilities before stepping foot on a college campus,” said Gina Pavlovich, Director of AP Access of ALL. “Our goal is to keep growing and leveling the educational playing field in the coming school year.”
While APAA courses are virtual, many schools provide the time and space for students to complete coursework during school hours. All AP Access for ALL courses are taught by certified and trained Tennessee teachers.
APPA has provided over $97,000 directly to AP teachers for classroom resources, and additionally, offered 1,200 teacher scholarships over the last two years to attend the AP Summer Institute training. By covering all fees, APAA saved districts an estimated $600,000 in professional development costs, ensuring schools receive the necessary training and classroom resources to enhance AP engagement.
“It’s really opened up a new world of opportunities,” said Robert Wheeler, Student, DeKalb County High School. “We’re from a small, rural school where AP isn’t offered. APAA has shown me what the workload is going to be like in college. Thanks to APAA, I know I’m not going to be overwhelmed next fall since I already have an idea of how my courses are going to go.”
Student enrollment for the 2024 spring semester opens in November, and free AP training and mini-grants to improve AP classrooms will once again be available for Tennessee educators in Summer 2024.
For a full list of participating districts, courses offered, and more information, click here. For additional information about APAA, click here.
For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact Edu.MediaInquiries@tn.gov.