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Giving College Credit Where it is Due: Advanced Placement Exam Scores and College Outcomes

Jonathan Smith, Michael Hurwitz, Christopher Avery

NBER Working Paper No. 21147
Issued in May 2015
NBER Program(s):Economics of Education

We implement a regression discontinuity design using the continuous raw Advanced Placement (AP) exam scores, which are mapped into the observed 1-5 integer scores, for over 4.5 million students. Earning higher AP integer scores positively impacts college completion and subsequent exam taking. Specifically, attaining credit-granting integer scores increases the probability that a student will receive a bachelor’s degree within four years by 1 to 2 percentage points per exam. We also find that receiving a score of 3 over a 2 on junior year AP exams causes students to take between 0.06 and 0.14 more AP exams senior year.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21147

Published: Jonathan Smith & Michael Hurwitz & Christopher Avery, 2017. "Giving College Credit Where It Is Due: Advanced Placement Exam Scores and College Outcomes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 67-147. citation courtesy of

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