This chapter looks at more recent developments and the present state of Advanced Placement (AP). Advanced Placement's recent decades are notable for the program's stunning growth on multiple dimensions. Many more schools, students, and subjects joined in, and they did so at accelerating rates. At least five factors have fueled the AP program's expansion in recent years. First, the use of AP participation to rate and rank high schools has impelled more of them to increase their student numbers so as to boost their standings. Second, schools and districts were induced to add more AP courses because they wanted to challenge their students intellectually, tone up their curricula, hold on to their best teachers, attract and retain more middle-class families, draw more sophisticated employers to the area, and respond to demands from parents of gifted kids. Third, the country's mounting concern about equalizing opportunity for poor and minority youngsters and getting more of them into and through college inevitably drew greater attention to AP's potential contribution. Fourth, stiffening competition to enter top colleges and more scrambling by kids to advantage themselves in the admissions process also continued to pump air into the AP balloon. The fifth factor is the forceful marketing and lobbying activities of the College Board itself. As AP has expanded, it has done so unevenly, however, giving rise to multiple issues of fairness. The chapter then considers these inequalities.
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