The AP Program consists of 36 different college freshman level courses in six different subject areas including English, History and Social Sciences, Math and Computer Science, Sciences, World Languages and Cultures and Arts in addition to an interdisciplinary area called the AP Capstone Diploma Program and its two courses. Finally, College Board has launched Pre-AP in 2020 and schools will be afforded the opportunity to explore this program to support their students prior to engaging with the AP program.
CPS—named AP District of the Year in 2011 and again in 2018 by College Board—offers access to all 36 AP courses in diverse subjects at all district, charter and contract managed high school campuses in addition to the AP Capstone Diploma Program and its two courses: AP Seminar and AP Research. CPS students pursuing the AP Capstone Diploma comprise one of the nation’s largest such programs with nearly 70% of the students earning an AP Capstone Diploma.
Each AP course has a corresponding and challenging college freshman level AP Exam that all Illinois public and most U.S. colleges and universities and more than 3,300 worldwide award college credit or placement for students with qualifying AP Exam scores.
In 2019, more than 25,000 CPS AP students completed more than 42,000 AP Exams.
Equity in Advanced Placement
Equitable access is a cornerstone of the 36 different college freshman level courses in six different subject areas including English, History and Social Sciences, Math and Computer Science, Sciences, World Languages and Cultures and Arts in addition to an interdisciplinary area called the AP Capstone Diploma Program and its two courses. The CPS Advanced Placement® program fully supports College Board’s belief that equitable access be a guiding principle for district and school level AP programs thereby giving all willing and academically prepared students the opportunity to participate in AP. We encourage CPS schools, administrators, AP Coordinators and AP educators to:
- Eliminate barriers that restrict access to AP for students from ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally underserved and underrepresented.
- Make every effort to ensure their AP classes reflect the diversity of their student population.
- Provide all students with access to academically challenging coursework before they enroll in AP classes.
Each AP course has a corresponding and challenging college freshman level AP Exam and CPS students are expected to complete the entire journey--from registration for the class and course, though the necessary content and skill building during the school year and culminating with the AP exam(s). Currently, the CPS Advanced Placement® program supports more than 25,000 AP students who, in turn, complete more than 42,000 AP Exams.
AP courses enable willing and academically prepared students to study academic subjects at the college level and earn college credits when they achieve qualifying scores of 3 or above on AP exams. AP credits can help lessen the financial burden of a postsecondary education and help students stand out during the college search.
The vast majority of U.S. colleges and universities--including all public postsecondary institutions in Illinois and all City Colleges of Chicago--award college credit or placement out of introductory level courses, or both, for students with qualifying AP Exam scores. Specific higher education policies can be found via the College Board’s AP Credit Policy Search website. According to College Board, more than 3,300 colleges and universities worldwide receive AP scores on an annual basis.
The AP course curriculum is academically challenging and helps students to think critically, construct solid arguments, and see many sides of any given issue—crucial skills regardless of their postsecondary pursuits.
Students commit to the AP course during the year prior to enrolling; they commit to the AP Exam(s) in October or November while learning the content and skills of the given course(s). AP exams are administered at the student's high school in May and graded during the summer by the College Board.
Economically disadvantaged students may qualify for reduced cost or free AP exams. Students and families should contact the school’s AP Coordinator for more information.
Advanced Placement Programs
AP Capstone Program
The AP Capstone Program is a diploma program from College Board and it is based on two yearlong college level AP courses--AP Seminar and AP Research--that focus on skills rooted in research, analysis, evidenced-based arguments, collaboration, writing and presenting.
Students who commit to this two-year program are undertaking the content portion of the course by identifying what they wish to research and learn the necessary and crucial college level skills through this pursuit. Students may earn an AP Capstone Diploma upon successfully completing four other AP Exams with qualifying scores of 3+ in addition to AP Seminar and AP Research with qualifying scores of 3+. Students who complete AP Seminar and AP Research with qualifying scores of 3+ earn an AP Seminar and Research Certificate. Both are recognized by colleges and universities in the United States and around the world.
AP Capstone Diploma Program
CPS high school campuses that adopt the Pre-AP program guarantee equitable Pre-AP and AP access to all students. Students are afforded the opportunity to learn, grow and success through four shared principles: close observation and analysis; higher-order questioning, evidence-based writing and academic conversations.
Currently, Pre-AP courses include Pre-AP English 1, Pre-AP English 2, Pre-AP Algebra 1, Pre-AP Geometry with Statistics, Pre-AP Biology, Pre-AP Chemistry, Pre-AP World History and Geography and Pre-AP Arts: Dance, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts.