Missouri public colleges and universities will have to grant credit to students who score a 3 or higher on their Advanced Placement course exams under a bill signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Mike Parson.
The new rules for AP scores are tucked into an education omnibus, Senate Bill 718, that also includes a tax credit for doctors who provide preceptorship training for medical students, establishes scholarships for dual credit and dual enrollment, requires the teaching of high school computer science, creates an alternative path for adults to a high school diploma, adds the suicide and crisis line number to college student IDs, protects college savings accounts from bankruptcy, and establishes Historically Black College and University Week.
Missouri is home to two HBCUs, Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis and Lincoln University in Jefferson City.
HBCU week will be held on the third week of September each year.
Having been stymied for several sessions, the changes to AP score eligibility finally made it through both chambers and onto the governor's desk this year.
Rep. Chris Brown, R-Kansas City, who had taught AP Government, brought the bill in hopes that it would give credit to students who might otherwise come up short. Prior to the passage of the law, Missouri schools set their own score requirements, so a 3 might get credit at one school but not another.
"It seems very arbitrary, it seems very random, and it's very hard to explain to a parent whose student worked very, very hard for an entire year, and they get a three, which is an exceedingly good grade on an AP test, why they're not getting college credit," Brown told the House Committee on Higher Education at a hearing in February.
Standardizing those scores could mean more students earn college credit for their high school courses, which can lead to shorter stays or lighter loads in college.
Brown also thought the bill could place Missouri on more even footing with surrounding states such as Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas and Kentucky, which do accept threes at public higher education institutions.
SB 718 is one of six bills Parson signed into law Thursday, according to a news release from the governor's office. Others include:
• SB 799, which adds to the escape from custody offense for those who were arrested for probation or parole violations.
• HB 2162, which gives the Department of Corrections and the Judiciary access to the Opioid Addiction Treatment and Recovery Fund and allows the Department of Health and Senior Services to issue a standing order for naltrexone.
• SB 725, which requires ambulance board members to attend training if they want to run for re-election and allows ambulance districts to maintain up to $10 million in tax funding.
• HB 1472, which includes cryptocurrencies in state money laundering statutes.
• SB 655, which lets communities choose to cover emergency communications, jailers and emergency management services under the LAGERS retirement system.