Why do students who took at least 5 AP Exams—but only in grades 11 and 12—not count toward the College Optimization metric?

A school’s College Optimization level is calculated by totaling the number of students who took at least 5 AP Exams in high school—with at least 1 taken in grades 9 or 10. The metric reflects evidence that students continue to improve their college outcomes with each AP Exam they take up to five; beyond five, additional APs do not statistically improve a student’s likelihood of earning a bachelor’s degree on time. Additionally, we believe that students should not feel pressure to load up on AP Exams in their junior and senior years. Rather than balance 3 or more AP Exams in a single year, students who take AP in grades 9 or 10 are able to optimize their AP participation across high school while never shouldering more than 2 AP Exams in the same year. 

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