Researchers Douglas Gagnon and Marybeth Mattingly found that 47.2 percent of rural districts have no students in AP courses, far above the percentages in town (20), suburban (5.4) and urban (2.6) districts. They also found less access to AP courses in smaller districts and those "farther from urbanized areas," their study brief says. In some cases, students in a district without AP courses will take one or more in another district; their districts were counted as having access to the courses.
"These findings have worrisome implications regarding equal access to educational opportunity, as some studies have documented the academic benefits of simply engaging in such rigorous coursework," the researchers write. Among students who do take AP courses, those in suburban and affluent districts have a higher rate of success, which was defined by passing at least one year-end AP exam. (Read more)