Student participation in Advanced Placement courses is on the rise

Sunday, February 12, 2012

From the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction

OLYMPIA — Washington students are taking more and passing more Advanced Placement exams, according to a national report released today.

The College Board’s eighth annual “AP Report to the Nation” shows that 19,162 Washington students (or 29.8 percent) in the class of 2011 took at least one AP exam. That number represents an increase of 866 from 2010 and 5,848 from 2006.

Not only did participation increase, scores did as well. In 2012, 18.4 percent of Washington’s 12th graders scored a three or greater – a score that generally qualifies for college credit – on an AP test. In 2011, 17.1 percent of students scored a three or greater; in 2001, 9.1 percent.

The 9.3 percent increase in the past 10 years ranks Washington eighth among all states. The national average for the same period was 7.3 percent.

“This shows that Advanced Placement is working,” said Randy Dorn, state superintendent. “More students are taking the tests, and more are passing them. And that’s helping them be prepared for college and career.”

Increased participation and college-ready scores also held true for most subgroups, including black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander, white and low-income students. American Indian and Alaska native students saw participation rates and scores decline.

“Open the door to take the exams, and students will step through and accept the challenge,” said Barb Dittrich, supervisor for the AP program at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. “They can handle the rigor. They can attain the achievement because our teachers prepare them.”

AP exams, which are offered in 34 subjects, are given each May and are scored on a scale from one to five. The most popular AP exams in Washington are (in order): English language, U.S. history, English literature, calculus AB, U.S. government and politics, biology, world history, statistics, chemistry and European history.

Washington ranked 17th in the nation with the greatest number of 12th graders (18.4 percent) scoring three or greater on AP exams – Maryland was first at 27.9 percent. The national average was 18.1 percent.

For more information and to view the “AP Report to the Nation,” including state-by-state results, click here.


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