How many students are taking online Advanced Placement courses?

According to a little-noticed article in THE Journal, AP Courses Surge Even as Online AP Participation Declines, “[W}hen it comes to online enrollment, the numbers are down. Participation in online courses dropped from an already nearly inconsequential 1 percent to just half a percent this year, according to information the College Board shared with THE Journal. (That represents perhaps only 5,000 individual students, based on the total number of students in the class of 2013 who took an AP exam.)”

The article references The College Board's 10th Annual AP Report to the Nation, but the online numbers are not in the report.

We are grateful that this estimate of how many students took an online AP course doesn’t appear to have been picked up by other media, because it seems to us to be significantly off the mark. We can’t say how far it’s off because we are not aware of any published source for these data. We conducted a simple survey of Evergreen clients and friends, however, including some of the major online AP course providers (but by no means all or even most of them), and we counted well over the number reported by T.H.E. Journal.

The state virtual schools and public and private providers stated that they are aware that many students who take online courses are not reporting the courses as online to the College Board. In some cases the online school is providing the course content and online instruction, but the local school transcripts the course, and the student reports the course to the College Board as an onsite course.

Even accounting for the larger numbers that we are hearing from the providers that we asked, it’s clear that the number of online AP courses makes up only a small number of total online courses.