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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Contact:JC Considine 781-338-3112

More Massachusetts High School Students Participating in and Demonstrating Success on AP Exams

MALDEN - The Patrick-Murray Administration and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education today announced that more than 15,000 students in the class of 2011 scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school, an increase of more than 1,000 students since last year and nearly double the number from ten years ago, as participation and performance continues to rise among Massachusetts public high school students.

According to results for Massachusetts released today by the College Board, 25.5 percent of the class of 2011 (15,129 out of 59,315 students) scored a 3 or higher – a solid predictive indicator of success in college – on at least one AP exam during high school, an increase of 2.4 percentage points from one year ago, 6.6 percentage points from five years ago, and 10.9 percentage points from ten years ago. Massachusetts students in the class of 2011 outperformed the national average (18.1 percent of seniors scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam) and came just behind Maryland (27.9 percent), New York (26.5 percent), and Virginia (25.6 percent).

"These results demonstrate our progress in boosting student participation and performance on the AP exams," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Now we must expand our efforts to help even more students enroll in these rigorous college preparatory courses and reach higher levels of attainment."

Statewide, 36.4 percent of Massachusetts public high school students in the class of 2011 took at least one AP exam in high school, up from 33.2 percent in 2010, 26.2 percent in 2006, and 20.4 percent in 2001.

"I am pleased that more Massachusetts students than ever are taking AP exams and scoring 3 or higher – which is a strong predictor of success in college," said Massachusetts Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester. "While we have adopted rigorous college and career ready standards in Massachusetts, there is still much work to be done to ensure that every student in every classroom experiences a top notch education."

Participation and performance increased for most student groups in Massachusetts. The percent of students in the class of 2011 who took at least one AP exam and scored a 3 or higher on at least one exam was: 31.1 percent for African American students (359 students, up from 343 students in 2010); 52.3 percent of Hispanic/Latino students (807 students, up from 694 students in 2010); 76 percent of Asian students (1,499 students, up from 1,408 in 2010); 74.6 percent of white students (11,597 students, up from 10,670 in 2010); and 45.4 percent of low income students (1,684 students, up from 1,426 in 2010).

"I am very encouraged to see more students taking and succeeding in these AP courses," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "Our focus now must be on accelerating efforts to ensure all students are prepared for more challenging coursework that will propel them to success in higher education and beyond."

Other Massachusetts results include:

  • 15,129 students (25.5 percent) in the class of 2011 scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school, an increase from one year ago (14,122 students; 23.1 percent), five years ago (11,537 students; 18.9 percent) and ten years ago (7,956 students; 14.6 percent).
  • 68.7 percent of all AP exams taken by Massachusetts public high school students in the class of 2011 received scores of 3 or higher, compared to the national average of 56 percent.
  • The ten most popular AP exams taken by Massachusetts public high school seniors during high school were: U.S. History, English Literature and Composition, Calculus AB, Biology, English Language and Composition, Psychology, Statistics, Chemistry, Spanish Language, and European History.

AP is a rigorous academic program that offers more than 30 courses in a wide range of subjects and college-level assessments developed and scored by college and university faculty members and experienced AP teachers. According to the College Board, a score of 3 or higher on an AP exam represents the score point that is predictive of college success and college graduation.



Last Updated: February 8, 2012
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