College Board Releases Advanced Placement Data

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Quick! Which exam puts the most fear into the hearts of school administrators? If you answered the SAT or ACT you wouldn’t be too far off the mark as both are used as measuring tools to identify student achievement. But, it is most likely Advanced Placement (AP) exams that catches everyone’s attention, thanks in large part to the College Board which tracks that kind of data.

AP Buzz

college studentThis past Wednesday the non-profit College Board released its sixth annual AP Report to the Nation, detailing trends in AP exams. Almost immediately states, school administrators, and local media sprung into action, dissecting the data and reporting on local trends.

The College Board, with laser-like focus, examined the high school class of 2009 for its study. 3 million students graduated last year, with nearly 16 percent achieving a score of 3 or more on at least one AP exam during their high school years. The College Board says that this figure is up from 15.2 percent in 2008 and 12.7 percent in 2004.

“This positive trend is encouraging, and I commend students and educators for their hard work and success,” Caperton said. “Credit goes to educators at all levels and policymakers whose diligence has ensured more students are able to take AP courses and do well on the exams.”

Maryland Leads

Maryland for the second consecutive year beat out the other 49 states and the District of Columbia by having the highest percentage of students achieving a 3 or higher on AP exams. 24.8 percent of Maryland students hit that goal; Florida saw the best year over year gain while Virginia recorded the best improvement over a five-year period.

Despite these gains, the College Board noted that significant caps remain between who they identify as traditionally underserved students—such as African American, Latino or American Indian students—and those who typically do well which includes Caucasian and Asian students. Though the gap in scores has closed somewhat in recent years, the College Board said that preparation for and access to these tests needed to be improved.

“Through the dedication of educators and others across the country, we are making progress toward the goal of having AP classes reflect the diversity of America’s students,” said Trevor Packer, vice president of the AP Program at the College Board, “but the disparity still exists. We need to ensure that all students are provided with the kind of academic experiences that can prepare them for the rigors of AP and college.”

AP Benefits

The College Board is behind an effort to encourage students to pursue college level classes while enrolled in high school. Over 30 college-level courses are offered with each one culminating in a rigorous exam. By taking AP courses, students show college admission officers that they have taken the most challenging courses available, an important consideration in the college application process.

Source: College Board

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Categories: Campus News