AP pilot program designed to help rural high school students
A new pilot program has been unveiled that is designed to give students at rural high schools in Illinois access to online Advanced Placement, AP, classes to better prepare them for college.
The program was unveiled by Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti.
A new initiative of the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, GRAC, that Sanguinetti chairs, the AP pilot program kicked off with classes for 75 students at 10 high schools in rural areas across the state.
Sanguinetti held news conferences at Altamont High School in Altamont and Central A&M High School in Moweaqua on Jan. 11 to announce the program.
“AP classes help prepare students for college and can even make college more affordable, but unfortunately access to AP classes is extremely limited in rural areas,” Sanguinetti said in a news release.
“This pilot program will test the feasibility of expanding AP classes through distance education so that students in rural Illinois will get the same opportunities to learn as their counterparts in the urban areas of our state.”
Participating schools in the pilot program include: Kankakee High School, Altamont High School, Knoxville High School, Illini Central High School, Tri-Point High School, Pope County High School, Orangeville High School, Quincy High School, Central A&M High School and Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School.
“Concern exists that small rural schools have greater difficulty preparing students with the skills necessary for successful college careers because of the lack of AP or specialized coursework,” said Dr. Bobbi Mattingly, superintendent of Regional Office of Education No. 11.
“Distance education has the potential to provide more choices which in turn better prepares rural youth to attend college.”
The pilot program was created in partnership with Illinois Virtual Schools, the Regional Office of Education Association, the College Board, the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools and the Illinois State Board of Education.
Students in both the experimental groups (students taking the AP course through IVS) and control groups (students taking the AP course in a traditional, face-to-face setting at their primary school) were randomly selected into sample sizes of four students each.
The students will be pre- and post-tested and their scores will be measured and compared by virtual vs. traditional class.
Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools, AIRSS, executive director David Ardrey said the association “is excited to support the new Advanced Placement/Illinois Virtual School Pilot project.”
“This new initiative will support one of the association’s primary goals, to provide access to quality educational programming to our Illinois rural and small schools.”