Advanced Placement ®

Advanced Placement® courses offer students the opportunity to earn college credit by taking rigorous courses in high school. Students who demonstrate mastery of the material on a national standardized end-of-course exam – a score of 3 or higher out of 5 – may be eligible for college credit for the course. 

Research suggests that students who complete AP® coursework are:

  • Better prepared for college-level work
  • Stand-outs in the college admissions process
  • More likely to continue beyond their freshman year in college
  • More likely to graduate within 4-5 years
  • More competitive in qualifying for scholarships

With AP®, students can get a feel for the rigors of college level studies while they still have the support of a high school environment. When students take AP courses, they demonstrate to college admission officers that they have sought out an educational experience that will prepare them for success in college and beyond. 

Performing well on an AP Exam means more than just the successful completion of a course. Research consistently shows that students who score a 3 or higher typically earn higher GPAs in college and have higher graduation rates.


AP® Incentive:

  • AP aligns the Core Four Diploma course sequence with the TOPS core sequence.
  • AP ensures students going to four-year colleges have taken a true college prep curriculum and have every chance to receive TOPS.
  • AP Creates incentives for students to take more rigorous AP courses by giving courses approved by the state additional weight in the calculation of the TOPS GPA.
  • The new cohort graduation index recognizes a score of 3 or higher on at least one AP® exam as the highest level of achievement earned by a cohort graduate. Each student with at least one AP® score of 3 or higher will earn the maximum 150 points toward the graduation index. Students who take an AP® exam and earn a 1 or 2 on an AP® exam will receive 110 points toward the graduation index. 

Funding Options for Advanced Placement (AP®) Programs

With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Federal AP® Test Fee Program will not be renewed, which means that districts and schools will need to offset the prior federal exam subsidy with funds from the options outlined below, if they choose. To ensure that low-income students are not adversely affected by the changes in ESSA, the Department recommends that schools and districts use a combination of funding options to provide exam subsidies for low-income students, as was intended by the changes made to ESSA.

By subsidizing the AP® exam fees for eligible public school students, schools and school districts will ensure that all students have access to opportunities to earn postsecondary credit at minimal cost. In addition, these subsidies will help increase the likelihood that low-income students apply for, attend, and succeed in college. If districts and schools choose to fully replace the federal exam subsidy amount, then they should budget $53 for each eligible AP® exam.

View more information on available funding options for AP® Programs here.

Please email CollegeReadiness@la.gov with questions.