Fewer Kentucky students taking AP exams

You want to prepare your child for their future, but at what cost? The nonprofit group College Board released information on Tuesday showing Kentucky students scored higher on the advanced placement tests, but fewer students took them.

If you pass the test, you can earn college credit, but the exams also have a fee. It costs $92 per exam. Some students take multiple AP exams per year. If a student takes three AP classes and wants to take the exam to earn college credit, that’s almost $300.

Compare that to the average cost per credit hour in Kentucky, which is almost $320. If you’re going to that class three times a week, it costs almost $1,000 to earn those credits.

High school senior Michael-Ellen Walden pulls the books from her locker each day determined to get a good education.

"I really wanted to take the classes, so I would learn how to study for harder classes," Walden said.

That’s why she’s taken six advanced classes and the optional AP exam while at Paducah Tilghman.

"I think a lot of students feel like the experience is too stressful," Walden said.

That may be why new data show 862 fewer Kentucky students took AP exams this year than last year. The state department of education says a fee for the test may be the cause, but local guidance counselor Rebecca Rogers says the drop happened other reasons.

"Students are afraid they won’t pass it or credit won’t qualify at a certain school," said Rogers.

She says Paducah Tilghman, like many other high schools in the area, offers a reimbursement to students who get a certain score. Rogers also attributes fewer exams to the free dual credit class that gives students credits without requiring an exam. 

That hasn’t stopped Walden. "It definitely can be worth it," she said.

She has a lot more studying to do, with three more AP tests ahead.

A federal grant covered the cost of the AP exams for low-income students in Kentucky who took the exam in 2016. In the past, the federal fee reduction program allowed low-income students to take it for free. 

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