Advanced Placement: Access Not Exclusion


  • Wayne J. Camara The College Board
  • Neil J. Dorans Educational Testing Service
  • Rick Morgan Educational Testing Service
  • Carol Myford Educational Testing Service



Access to Education, Advanced Placement, Advanced Placement Programs, Course Selection (Students), Curriculum Development, Equal Education, High School Students, High Schools


Lichten (2000) argues that increased access to AP courses in high schools has led to a decline in AP quality. He uses a mix of actual data, inaccurate data, and fabricated data to support this hypothesis. A logical consequence of his argument is that a reduction in the availability of AP courses will lead to an improvement in AP quality. In this paper, we maintain that his thesis is flawed because he confounds quality with scarcity. In contrast to his narrow conception of quality, quality in the AP context is subject- specific and multifaceted, embracing course content, the teacher, the student as well as the exam. Increased access will not diminish quality. Instead, increased access exposes students to college-level course material, encourages teachers to expand their knowledge domains, serves as a lever for lifting curriculum rigor, and provides students with the opportunity to experience the challenges associated with advanced placement in college.


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Author Biographies

Wayne J. Camara, The College Board

Wayne J. Camara is the Vice President for Research and Development at The College Board. He is responsible for monitoring, coordinating and conducting all research and product development associated with the range of College Board assessments, services, and programs. He has served as the Assistant Executive Director of Science at the American Psychological Association (APA) directing scientific involvement in policy and research activities. His principle areas of research are test validity, selection and admissions testing, standards and professional practice in testing, legal and regulatory issues relating to assessment, and public policy issues in assessment. Dr. Camara completed a Ph.D. in industrial-organizational psychology at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Neil J. Dorans, Educational Testing Service

Neil J. Dorans is a Principal Measurement Statistician at Educational Testing Service. He is currently the statistical coordinator for the Advanced Placement Program. He has extensive experience in the statistical work associated with large-scale high-stakes testing programs, such as the SAT I. Dr. Dorans was the architect for the recentered SAT I and II scales. He also developed a flexible, easy-to-use method for assessing differential item functioning for selected choice and constructed response items. Dr. Dorans completed a Ph. D. in quantitative psychology at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Rick Morgan, Educational Testing Service

Rick Morgan is a Program Administrator at Educational Testing Service for the Advanced Placement Program. During the 1990s he served as the statistical coordinator for several testing programs including AP. He has published research in the areas of exam validity, constructed response testing, and the impact of allowing examinee choice. Dr. Morgan completed his Ph. D at The Ohio State University in quantitative psychology and later was a post-doctoral fellow in measurement at Indiana University.

Carol Myford, Educational Testing Service

Carol Myford is a Senior Research Scientist in the Center for Measurement Models at Educational Testing Service. Her program of research at ETS focuses on scoring issues in performance and portfolio assessments. She has conducted studies related to rater training, designing scoring rubrics, quality control monitoring, improving rater performance, and detecting different types of rater errors. Dr. Myford received her doctoral degree from the University of Chicago.




How to Cite

Camara, W. J., Dorans, N. J., Morgan, R., & Myford, C. (2000). Advanced Placement: Access Not Exclusion. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 8, 40.