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This customized study will help you evaluate the success of your institution’s Advanced Placement Program® (AP) Exam placement policies. It gives you information on how well your current policies for granting AP credit for introductory courses are working for each higher-level course you choose to study.

To assess whether a particular policy is working as intended, the study will compare the performance of students who entered the higher-level course through AP credit to the performance of students who entered the course by completing the introductory AP-equivalent course or courses at your institution.

Designing Your Study

Get an overview of how to design your study below. For detailed step-by-instructions, download the ACES AP Placement Validity Study Guide (.pdf/558KB) or see the FAQ at the bottom of this page.

Choosing a Criterion and Predictors

In an ACES study, a criterion means a measure of student success that can be used to validate your admission or placement policies. The standard criterion for an ACES placement validity study is an end-of-course grade in a specific college course. For an AP placement validity study, you should use the course into which you place your students rather than the course out of which you will place students.

A predictor means a data point that you’re using to make your decisions and whose effectiveness you want to analyze. The standard predictors for an ACES AP placement validity study are AP Exam scores or final course grade in the course for which your institution offers AP credit.

Submitting Your Student Data

Which Students to Include

To be included in the sample, students must have a valid course grade on the criterion. Your results will help you make more accurate predictions if you keep these rules in mind:

  • The sample of students used for the study should be similar to the group of students whose success you want to predict. Characteristics of the population such as gender, ethnicity, and age should be represented in the sample. We recommend including at least one entire cohort of students and two academic years of course records.
  • The data from the predictor must have been collected before the criterion. That is to say, AP Exam scores or pre-requisite courses must have been completed before the student took the criterion course.

For help in analyzing the validity of a predictor for a sequence of courses, contact the ACES staff at [email protected].

 Which Data to Include

You’ll need to supply identifying information on the students in your sample as well as data on your institution's AP credit and placement policy and the criterion (e.g., their final grade in the relevant course at your institution). Identifying information will be used to include College Board records on AP Exam scores.

Submitting Your Data File

You’ll be prompted to submit a data file when you design a new study. You can upload a new data file or reuse one from a previous study.

Your data file format must be Microsoft Excel, Comma Separated Value (CSV), Tab Delimited (.txt), or SAS Transport (XPORT).

Download an Excel template with the correct data layout for the AP placement validity study (.xls/12.8KB).

For detailed information on preparing your data file, see the ACES Data Preparation Guidelines (.pdf/606KB).

Getting Your Report

When your study is complete—within 20 business days of your completed request—we’ll notify you that your report is available on the ACES website and you can sign in to access it. You’ll get two deliverables:

  • A complete, printable report in PDF format that shows the strength of your chosen predictors of success—alone and in combination—with charts, tables, and detailed explanations.
  • A report in HTML format featuring interactive graphs. You can click to display or hide data, compare data, zoom in and out, take a snapshot, sort table columns, and more.

See a Sample Report

Frequently Asked Questions