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ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012

Performance Differences and School Size student achievement was reported in eight studies. Because over 12,500 high schools in the United States participate in the Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) program, examining the impact of school size on the performance of boys and girls taking AP tests and IB exams in Texas may provide useful information. The AP program was originally designed to provide advanced students the opportunity to earn college credit while enrolled in high school (Hertberg-Davis, Callahan, & Kyburg, 2006). Motivated and academically prepared high school students study a rigorous curriculum and are able to demonstrate their proficiency at college level courses (Dixon, 2006). In recent years, the College Board (2010a) has encouraged schools to recruit and prepare students for enrollment in AP classes. Schools are encouraged to provide PreAP classes that will prepare students for the rigor of AP coursework (College Board, 2010b). The College Board offered over 35 AP courses in 2009 and 26.5% of the 2009 high school graduates completed at least one AP course during high school. Almost 16% of the 2009 graduating class received a score of 3 or higher and were potentially eligible to receive college credit (College Board, 2010a). Because the same AP exam is administered each year to all students in a subject area, the AP program provides an external standard to evaluate the mastery of content by students (Robinson, 2003). Van Tassel-Baska (2005) stated that the AP program was one way to measure the quality of secondary student learning and collaboration between secondary education and higher education. The AP exams are scored on a scale of 1 (no recommendation) to 5 (extremely well qualified) (College Board, 2010b). A recommendation by the American Council of Education is that students earning a 3 or higher on an AP exam should receive college credit (Ewing, 2006). However, colleges and universities set their own standard and many institutions require a score of 4 or 5 for a student to earn college credit (Ewing, 2006). Another program that has been utilized by secondary schools for students is the IB Program (Hertberg-Davis et al., 2006). The IB program began in 1968 at the International School of Geneva to meet the needs of internationally mobile students preparing to enter college (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2005-2010a). The growth of the IB program has been slower than the growth of the AP program. During the 2004 academic year, 1,335 schools were registered IB Diploma Programme schools. In the 2009 academic year, 2,025 schools were registered IB Diploma Programme schools. In 2009, students took a total of 29,962 IB examinations (International Baccalaureate, 2010). Similar to the AP program, students who successfully pass IB examinations may be eligible to earn college credit (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2005-2010a). The scores for IB exams range from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest) and a score of 4 or higher may allow a student to earn college credit. The goals of the IB program are clarified in the IB mission statement: (a) to develop young people who are caring, knowledgeable, and will work to improve the world; (b) to develop challenging curriculum and assessments; and (c) to develop lifelong learners (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2005-2010b). Over 3,600 colleges and universities receive an annual AP Exam Report and about 90% of 4-year colleges and universities offer either credit or advancement for students who pass an AP exam (College Board, 2010b). Van Tassel-Baska (2005) contended that students without some evidence of advanced work (e.g., AP, IB, or dual-enrollment) in high school are less likely to be accepted to the top 300 colleges in the United States than are students who completed advanced course work. Traditionally, more men have pursued postsecondary degrees than women. However, in the past 30 years, that trend has reversed (Wells, Seifert, Padgett, Park, & Umbach, 2011). In their study of the gender gap between men and women earning college December 2012 / ACEF 6


ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012
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