Who Benefits from Open Access to Advanced Placement Courses? Evidence from Wisconsin
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The main source of disparities is now enrollment within schools, not disparities in AP courses across them (Malkus, 2016). One particularly contentious—though apparently widespread—policy is to allow any student who has taken pre-requisite courses to enroll in these once exclusive classes (Farkas & Duffet, 2009; Klopfenstein, 2006; Rowland & Shircliffe, 2016). We are not aware of any evaluations of these policies. In this study, we use 10 years of administrative data from public schools in Wisconsin to examine how changes in schools’ course enrollment policies affect access to and success in Advanced Placement courses, as well as postsecondary outcomes. Using a difference-in-differences design, we find that opening access increases AP course enrollment and exam participation significantly among Black, Latinx, and low-income students, and that new students pass the AP exam and a similar rate as students enrolled prior to the policy change. In future analyses, we will look ahead to effects on college outcomes including attendance and persistence to the second year.