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Rep. Chris Brown seeks to Standardize MU acceptance of AP scores

Representative Chris Brown is sponsoring legislation, HB 1683, which seeks to require public universities to grant course credit to students who score a 3 or higher on advance placement (AP) exams. This change would bring Missouri law in-line with Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas and Kentucky.

AP exams are a method of offering undergraduate college credit to high school students. Students spend an entire year or one semester taking an AP course, such as government, history, or calculus.With the course is meant to represent one semester of taking a college-class.

At the end of the year, students can take a standardized exam–the AP exam–and are awarded a score of 1 to 5. According to the College Board, a score of 3 is considered a qualifying score for college credit. 

Currently, Missouri public universities have discretion to decide what scores qualify a student for college credit. During the bill’s hearing, one University of Missouri student testified that she received a 3 on her AP government exam, but MU only awarded college credit to students with scores of 4 or higher. There can be further variations across the state’s public universities. Score requirements differ across schools in the University of Missouri system.

Rep. Brown said standardized acceptance of scores is important because it encourages Missouri students to apply to in-state schools rather than look to out-of-state schools that do accept their AP credit. Schools acceptance of AP credit can save students thousands of dollars in tuition, fees, and books, as they are not required to take the college course.  

The Most Policy Initiative has suggested that students with AP credit do the same or better in later, more advanced college courses than their peers who took the regular college course. 

Supporters of the bill claim this standardization can save students thousands of dollars, will encourage more in-state applications, and can even help some students graduate from college early. The UM System testified against the bill, expressing concerns that some students who score a 3 on the exam may not actually be prepared for upper-level courses. 

The bill unanimously passed out of the Missouri House of Representatives with 135 voting yes and 0 no-votes. The bill will receive a public hearing in the Missouri Senate Committee on Education this week.