AP + PLTW: Preparing Students for College and Careers

Please note: We will award the AP + PLTW Achievement for the last time this year, recognizing students who completed the AP + PLTW application and earned qualifying scores as of June 30, 2020.

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AP + PLTW: Partnering to Create More Opportunities for Students

To help prepare all students for the global workforce, the College Board and Project Lead The Way (PLTW) began a five-year program to provide more opportunities for students to become college and career-ready in STEM in 2015.

The program had three elements:

  • College and career pathways that connect AP and PLTW courses
  • Recognition for students who participate in the pathways, and recognition for schools
  • A portfolio of career-focused opportunities for students

Between 2016 and 2019, more than 20,000 students have applied for the recognition and approximately 15,000 students have earned the AP + PLTW Achievement in one or more of the three AP + PLTW college and career pathways.

We will award the AP + PLTW Achievement for the last time this year, recognizing students who completed the AP + PLTW application and earned qualifying scores as of June 30, 2020.

Student Pathways

The first element of the program is a set of college and career pathways in three fields – engineering, biomedical science, and computer science – that incorporate both AP and PLTW courses. Your school can connect its existing AP and PLTW courses or add AP or PLTW courses, or both. Schools design their own pathways that best meet the needs of the school and its students.

Each pathway emphasizes applied learning and consists of three components:

  • PLTW courses designed to introduce all students to the field
  • AP courses and exams that provide an opportunity for advanced placement and/or college credit
  • PLTW specialization courses that focus on knowledge and skills needed for rewarding careers

The table below shows the menu of courses that schools can combine to create pathways.

Student Recognition

Students who complete the requirements of their chosen pathway earn the AP + PLTW student recognition, a qualification that demonstrates to colleges and employers that the student is ready for advanced course work and interested in careers in this discipline.

To earn the recognition, the student must satisfactorily complete three courses in the pathway – one AP course; one PLTW course; and a third course, either AP or PLTW – and earn a qualifying score of 3 or higher on the AP Exam(s) and a score of Accomplished or higher on the PLTW End-of-Course (EoC) Assessment(s).

Application window for the 2019-20 school year has closed. We will award the AP + PLTW Achievement for the last time this year, recognizing students who completed the AP + PLTW application and earned qualifying scores as of June 30, 2020.

About AP

The College Board’s AP Program enables students to take college-level courses and exams – with the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both – while still in high school. Learn how AP can benefit your students and see detailed information on planning and establishing an AP program in your school. Teachers can share the AP Students website with students interested in exploring AP.

About PLTW

Project Lead The Way is a nonprofit organization that provides transformative learning experiences for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. Through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, students learn problem-solving strategies, critical and creative thinking, and how to communicate and collaborate. We are shaping the innovators, creators, and designers of today and tomorrow.