Leaders of the Illinois State Board of Education are celebrating NIU for awarding credit retroactively to AP students before the new law takes effect in 2016-17.
As a result of House Bill 3428, signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner earlier this year, all public universities and public community colleges in Illinois must award college credit to students who submit scores of 3 or higher on College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Exams starting next school year.
But, the ISBE points out, NIU already has initiated the new credit-granting process for high scores on these prestigious exams. Academic departments affected by the ruling have begun to retroactively award credit for AP scores of 3, 4, and 5 received after Jan. 1, 2015.
“HB 3428 is an extraordinary opportunity to provide more students with AP credit when entering post-secondary education,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith. “Having more students receive Advanced Placement credit means more students are already on their way to obtaining degrees in pursuit of their chosen careers. I commend Northern Illinois University for recognizing this advantage.”
NIU examined the retention and graduation rates of students with and without AP credit, and determined that students who engage in more rigorous AP classes have higher retention and graduation rates. NIU academic leaders have expressed strong support for credit-by-examination and the AP program because they feel that awarding this additional credit will benefit the university and its students.
As a result of the university’s decision, NIU will award an additional 963 credit hours to 168 of its students.