Feb 24, 2012

Maryland and Virginia Score High on AP's

Once again, Maryland and Virginia claimed two of the top three spots in performance on Advanced Placement (AP) exams administered to students graduating from public high schools, according to the College Board’s 8th annual AP Report to the Nation.

For the fourth consecutive year, Maryland had the nation’s highest percentage (27.9 percent) of seniors scoring a passing mark on at least one AP exam—up 1.5 percentage points over last year. Virginia placed third at 25.6 percent, just behind New York (26.5) and above Massachusetts (25.5). Nationwide, 18.1 percent of public high school students from the class of 2011 completed high school with at least one successful AP experience

Maryland also earned honors for being among the states with the greatest ten-year percentage increase (13.1) of seniors scoring 3 or higher on an at least one exam. Virginia came in lower on the list with a 9.1 percent increase in successful test-takers over ten years.

Well over a half a million public school students from the class of 2011 earned a passing score (3 or higher out of a possible 5) on at least one AP exam during high school—nearly doubling the number of successful students from the class of 2001 and far exceeding the total number of students from the class of 2001 who took AP exams.

In Maryland, half of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Class of 2011 received a college-ready score on at least on AP exam—nearly twice the rate posted by the state as a whole and nearly triple the national rate. In addition the percentage of MCPS 2011 grads taking at least one AP exam hit an all-time high of 66.1 percent.

“I am very proud of how MCPS students are performing on AP exams and the role they have played in making Maryland a national leader in AP,” said Superintendent Joshua P. Starr. “I am also extremely pleased to see significant improvement in AP participation and performance by our African American and Hispanic students.”

Across the Potomac in Fairfax County, the number of students taking AP tests rose by 5.4 percent. The highest achievement rates (score of 3 or better) were in AP Calculus BC (86 percent) AP Chinese Language and Culture (95 percent), and AP Studio Art: 2-D Design (88 percent). AP English Language, AP Psychology, AP Spanish Literature, and AP World History all posted 78 percent pass rates.

According to the College Board, research shows that students who score a 3 or higher on AP exams “typically experience stronger college outcomes than otherwise comparable non-AP peers.” As the AP report clearly demonstrates, area high schools have responded by increasing the availability of AP courses and encouraging more students to take AP exams.

A complete copy of the 2012 AP Report to the Nation is available on the College Board website.

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